Presence and television.

M. Lombard
R. D. Reich
M. E. Grabe
Cheryl C. Bracken, Cleveland State University


Film and a number of emerging entertainment technologies offer media consumers an illusion of nonmediation known as presence. To investigate the possibility that television can evoke presence, 65 undergraduate students were shown brief examples of rapid point-of-view movement from commercially available videotapes on a television with either a small screen (12 inches [30.5 cm], measured diagonally) or a large screen (46 inches [116.8 cm]). Participants' responses were measured via a questionnaire and a computer-based recording of arousal (electrodermal activity). Viewers of both televisions reported an enjoyable sense of physical movement, excitement, involvement, and a sense of participation. Furthermore, as predicted, participants who watched the large screen television thought the movement in the scenes was faster, experienced a greater sense of physical movement, enjoyed the movement to a greater extent, found the viewing experience more exciting, and were more physiologically aroused. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.