PsychNology Journal, Volume 12, Number 1-2, 29 – 43

Avatars and Expectations: Influencing Perceptions of Trustworthiness in an Online Consumer Setting

Rory McGloin, Kristine L. Nowak, James Watt
Department of Communication University of Connecticut, USA


ABSTRACT

This study investigates how individuals process an online product review when an avatar is included to represent the peer reviewer. The researchers predicted that both perceived avatar and textual credibility would have a positive influence on perceptions of source trustworthiness and the data supported this prediction. Expectancy violations theory also predicted that discrepancies between the perceived avatar and textual credibility would produce violations. Violations were statistically captured using a residual analysis. The results of this research ultimately demonstrated that discrepancies in perceived avatar and textual credibility can have a significant impact on perceptions of source trustworthiness. These findings suggest that predicting perceived source trustworthiness in an online consumer review setting goes beyond the linear effects of avatar and textual credibility.

KEYWORDS: Source trustworthiness, expectancy violations, online peer reviews, avatar credibility, residual analysis.


CITE AS:
McGloin, R., Nowak, K. L. and Watt, J.(2014). Avatars and Expectations: Influencing Perceptions of Trustworthiness in an Online Consumer Setting. PsychNology Journal, 12(1-2), 7 - 28. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from www.psychnology.org.

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PsychNology Journal Volume 12, Number 1-2