EFFECTS OF SPECIALIZATION OF MEDIA TECHNOLOGY AT MULTIPLE SOURCE LAYERS UPON ONLINE TRUST: THE ROLE OF INFORMATION PROCESSING IN DETERMINING E-COMMERCE ATTITUDES

Open Access
Author:
Koh, Yoon Jeon
Graduate Program:
Mass Communications
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
April 21, 2008
Committee Members:
  • S. Shyam Sundar, Committee Chair
  • Mary Beth Oliver, Committee Member
  • Richard Denny Taylor, Committee Member
  • Karen Gasper, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • HCI(Human Computer Interaction)
  • Media equation
  • HSM(Heuristic-Systematic Model)
  • Media effects
  • Specialization
  • Trust in E-commerce
Abstract:
Media specialization has provided psychological superiority (e.g., expertise) in certain content domains at the levels of a television channel as well as the TV set. Specialization becomes more importance since it has frequently been applied to media technology (e.g., computer, web site or web agent) in an online context, in which multiple media technologies are employed as sources. The goals of this dissertation are (1) to explore the effects of specialization of media technology at multiple source layers (e.g., computer, web site, and web agent) on attitudes (e.g., trust) in HCI and (2) to investigate the mechanisms underlying the effects of specialized media technologies at multiple source layers on trust toward different trustees (e.g., media technology and product descriptions) and different dimensions of trust (e.g., cognitive and affective trust), with a focus on the role played by the nature of information processing (i.e., heuristic vs. systematic processing). Based on cognitive psychology, social psychology, and HCI literatures, with an emphasis on their relation to trust in e-commerce, two studies were conducted with an online shopping task for purchasing wines and online questionnaires. Findings strongly support the positive effects of specialization of media technology at multiple source layers on trust in HCI. In addition, web agent appears to be the most prominent of the three source layers, having specialization effects on trust toward web site, web agent, and product descriptions. Most notably, mechanisms underlining the interactions of specialization of media technologies as multiple sources uncover the significant role played by specialization in activating systematic processing alongside heuristic processing. The co-occurrence of the two processing modes influences cognitive and affective trust in media technology and product descriptions, showing support for the bias effect in online communication. These findings provide theoretical implications for understanding how and why individuals psychologically respond to media technology in HCI. The differential effects of specialization of media technology on different types of trust have useful implications for online service users and providers.