Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Social Television and Locus of Control: Interactivity Effects on Cognition and Behavior

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Social Television and Locus of Control: Interactivity Effects on Cognition and Behavior

Article excerpt

As new media technologies have become more dominant in peoples' daily lives, a dramatic change in television-watching patterns has occurred (Shin, 2013). Before the Internet age, people gathered physically to watch television or perhaps discussed a program that they had watched the previous day. Advancing technology continues to accelerate the phenomenon of isolation through interactive television combined with traditional television and interactive technology (Harboe et al., 2008).

However, these changes do not signify the end of the social role of television watching. Recent researchers have asserted that television is a source of social communication that builds social bonds (Shin, 2013). It may be easy to stay informed about shared television content by converging traditional media with networked technology (Chorianopoulos & Lekakos, 2008). Although people may be physically alone when watching television, they can still communicate and interact with other viewers through new communication technologies, such as mobile devices, which have introduced innovative ways of sharing content.

Ducheneaut, Moore, Oehlberg, Thornton, and Nickell (2008) conducted a television-watching experiment and verified that the pattern of communication among viewers in the mediated and collocated conditions was identical. The focal point for successful communication is not physical proximity but, rather, synchronicity of interaction, which enables people to share a communication goal (Dennis, Fuller, & Valacich, 2008).

Prior studies on social television have been focused on introducing the concept of system design (Coppens, Trappeniers, & Godon, 2004) or providing suggestions for system design (Ducheneaut et al., 2008), without developing a theoretical background. It is important to investigate what aspects of this new television-watching trend encourage viewers to take part in socializing (Chorianopoulos & Lekakos, 2008), and how technological features affect users' cognition and behavior. Among various facets, interactivity is one of the most notable (Rafaeli & Ariel, 2007; Shin, Hwang, & Choo, 2013; Sundar, 2004) in distinguishing new from traditional media technology. Accordingly, we believe that a crucial point of social television resides in interactivity via the secondary devices that people use for communication.

Additionally, the psychological mechanisms of people using networked communication technology can vary depending on personal traits, such as locus of control (Kim & Sundar, 2011; Nonnecke & Preece, 2001). Focusing on the social role of television watching, we considered it significant to examine the personality traits of television viewers during interaction with others that, in turn, influence their psychological factors.

Accordingly, our aim in the current study was to investigate how an interface cue for level of interactivity that is shown on secondary screens in a social television environment influences users' cognition and behavior. We focused on the social role of television watching, the effects of interactivity cues on user perception and user behavior outcomes, and examined how locus of control, as an individual characteristic, influences these aspects.

Literature Review

Social Television

Social television is defined as a hybrid of television and a network system that enables people to connect socially with others (Shin, 2016). The social television concept focuses on connectivity when traditional television is combined with network systems (Shin & Kim, 2015), allowing people to share their experiences of television with other viewers through secondary devices that connect them whether or not the television itself is interactive (Cesar & Geerts, 2011; Coppens et al., 2004; Geerts & De Grooff, 2009; Harboe et al., 2008).

Ducheneaut et al. (2008) articulated the socializing of television watching through an experiment comparing collocated groups to remotely located groups in terms of fostering social interaction, and found that television viewers were interconnected in relation to the television show, regardless of where they were located. …

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