Bringing People Closer: The Prosocial Effects of Immersive Media on Users’ Attitudes and Behavior

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This experimental study examined how varying the degree of immersiveness of a short documentary about a remote health issue influenced users’ reported spatial presence, empathic parasocial interaction, and individual issue involvement. Higher-order responses, namely, the desire for information and willingness to donate to the cause, were also analyzed. The documentary was shown to 85 participants using three different technologies with varying degrees of immersiveness (high, moderate, and low). The results show that the level of the technology’s immersiveness gradually increases the spatial presence, empathic parasocial interaction, and issue involvement of the user. While participants of the highly immersive condition reported a higher desire for additional information, the results on donation behavior were less conclusive.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly |  

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