Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Exploring the Effects of Mood on End-User Experiences During a Virtual Product Trial

Research on virtual product experiences (VPE) has received increased scholarly attention in the area of information systems, however, efforts toward understanding these socio-technical experiences, specifically the complex interrelationship between technology, individual, and embodied content in the context of VPE, are in their infancy. Central to VPE is the concept of presence. Presence is defined as a cognitive state where individuals perceive computer-mediated, or digitally embodied, objects as being real, natural, immediate, and direct. Within this growing body of literature, scholars have conjectured as to the possible antecedents to and consequences of presence, however, until recently, few of these assertions, beyond technology characteristics, have ever been systematically or empirically investigated. Presence is first and foremost an individual experience and, as such, is expected to vary across individuals for the same content and technology. Moreover, presence has also been found to vary for the same person across time for the same content and medium. Therefore, in order to increase our understanding of VPE, it is crucial that we examine the influence of individual characteristics on presence. While there are many individual characteristics that may influence a users sense of presence, such as computer self-efficacy or computer playfulness, the purpose of the current study is to investigate the influence of an individual?s mood on presence. Recently scholars have recognized the importance of affective states (e.g., moods and emotions) in investigating human behavior in general and, more specifically, computer adoption and use. As such, the current research hypothesized that individual?s with happy or positive moods would be more likely to experience presence in the context of VPE. The findings regarding affect in the current study, specifically mood, are telling. Individuals with less positive moods were less inclined to engage in the virtual experience in any meaningful way; however, subjects with more positive moods were far more likely to dive into the experience. This suggests that mood elevating techniques emerge as a critical consideration in virtual experiences. This has important implications for practice, i.e., mood, if effectively altered by some interface design or atmospheric (e.g., some hedonic aspect is made more salient), may actually alter overt behavior toward both the website and its contents.