Telepresence via Television: Two Dimensions of Telepresence May Have Different Connections to Memory and Persuasion.


  • Taeyong Kim,

    Corresponding author
    1. Received an M.A. degree in advertising from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. degree in mass communication research (concentration in advertising research) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at North Carolina, he authored over a dozen of journal articles and national convention papers. Currently, he is an assistant professor of advertising at Appalachian State University. He teaches the full line of advertising courses including principles of advertising, advertising copywriting, media planning, and advertising campaigns. “Telepresence and persuasion” has been his main research theme for the past several years. If seeing is believing, Taeyong argues, “virtual seeing” should also be believing. Taeyong dreams of the future when mass media become better able to reproduce the reality and a Pizza Hut advertisement can reproduce a sizzling pizza for the viewers.
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  • Frank Biocca

    Corresponding author
    1. Ameritech Professor of Telecommunication and Director of the Media Interface and Network Design (M.I.N.D.) Lab. Dr. Biocca's research explores human-computer interaction in virtual environments. His most recent book, Communication in the Age of Virtual Reality, co-edited with Mark Levy, was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 1995. It was the first volume to explore the communication applications and implications of virtual reality. His forthcoming book, Presence of Mind in Virtual Environments, will examine how the sensation of “presence” in virtual environments might assist human intellectual and physical performance. Dr. Biocca has lectured or been a researcher at Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley, Duke University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and other universities.
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Department of Communication, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608.

M.I.N.D. Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.


To be truly useful for media theory, the concept of presence should be applicable to all forms of virtual environments including those of traditional media like television and traditional content such as advertising. This study reports the results of an experiment on the effects of the visual angle of the display (sensory saturation) and room illumination (sensory suppression) on the sensation of telepresence during normal television viewing. A self-report measure of presence yielded two factors. Using [Gerrig's (1993)] terminology for the sense of being transported to a mediated environments, we labeled the two factors “arrival,” for the feeling of being there in the virtual environment, and “departure,” for the feeling of not being there in the in physical environment. It appears that being in the virtual environment is not equivalent to not being in the physical environment. A path analysis found that these two factors have very different relationships to viewer memory for the experience and for attitude change (i.e., buying intention and confidence in product decision). We theorize that the departure factor may be measuring the feeling that the medium has disappeared and may constitute a deeper absorption into the virtual environment. The study did not find evidence that visual angle and room illumination affected the sensation of telepresence