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Telepresence and the Exemplification Effects of Disaster News
Communication Studies (2009)
  • David Westerman, North Dakota State University
  • Patric R Spence, University of Kentukcy
  • Kenneth Lachlan, University of Connecticut
Exemplification theory (Zillmann, 1999, 2002; Zillmann & Brosius, 2000) suggests exemplar representations in media content may cause people to make overestimated judgments about phenomena included in this content. The current study sought to examine the role telepresence plays in increasing this exemplification effect. Two-hundred and seventeen participants viewed a news story about Hurricane Katrina using one of three channels: HDTV, NTSC, or on an iPod. Data were consistent with predictions as participants who experienced greater spatial presence and perceptual realism while watching this news story reported increased judgments of the severity of hurricanes and also reported a greater likelihood to engage in behaviors associated with hurricanes. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
  • crisis communication,
  • disaster news,
  • exemplification,
  • telepresence
Publication Date
Citation Information
David Westerman, Patric R Spence and Kenneth Lachlan. "Telepresence and the Exemplification Effects of Disaster News" Communication Studies Vol. 60 (2009) p. 542 - 557
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