Source Credibility and Presence: The role of Image Quality

Cheryl  Campanella Bracken



This study investigates the relationship among television form (image quality and image size), presence, and perceptions of source credibility. It attempts to extend prior findings that both television form variables and sensations of presence influence television audiences’ perceptions. Previous research found image size and image quality influenced participants' body image disturbance, with larger screen sizes and improved image quality leading to men and women reporting greater desires to be thin and/or muscular (Bracken & Botta, 2002.) Similarly, Bracken, Neuendorf, and Jeffres (2002) found viewers who watch presidential debates on a larger screen rated the candidates as more dangerous and less credible. This experiment tests the findings of these previous studies by examining the impact of varying television form, on TV audiences’ sensations of presence and perceptions of the source credibility of television news anchors. The approximately 150 participants will view local news in high definition or NTSC standard definition, and on either a small (32-inch) or large (65-inch) television set. The hypotheses include the following


H1: Participants who view news in high definition will attribute greater levels of source credibility to the news anchor than those who view local news in standard (NTSC) definition.


H2: Participants who view news in high definition will report experiencing greater levels of presence than those who view local news in standard (NTSC) definition. (presence will be measured using the Lombard & Ditton (2000) presence scale).



The results will contribute to our knowledge of both causes of and consequences of experiencing presence. Additionally, these results will assist us as we begin to understand the relationship between presence and other traditional media effects





Bracken, C. C., & Botta, R. A. (2002, October). Presence: the debate between content and form. Proceedings of the 5th annual international meeting of the Presence Conference, Porto, Portugal, 535 – 363.


Bracken, C. C., Neuendorf, K. A., & Jeffres, L. W. (2002). Screen Size, Source Credibility, and Presence: Audience Reactions to the Televised 2000 Presidential Debates. Unpublished manuscript.