Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slow download speeds capture interest of Internet surfers

31.10.2002


As cable companies and Internet access providers compete for customers by offering broadband service, cable modems and digital subscriber lines (DSLs) as faster access to the Web, slower download speeds sometimes prompt greater user response than faster download speeds, a study says.



Dr. S. Shyam Sundar, associate professor of communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State, and Carson Wagner, assistant professor of advertising at the University of Texas, publish their findings in the current issue of the journal, Media Psychology.

With the growth of Internet-based communication, for everything from electronic commerce to news, researchers have theorized about the impact of download speed -- the time required for the images and information that comprise a full page on the Web to display on a computer screen. The study shows that download speeds induce behavioral and physiological changes for audience members who access information on the Web. The results also show slower download speeds increase arousal in some instances.


Through three separate experiments, the researchers measured the impact of download speed by monitoring skin conductance levels (SCLs) of participants exposed to slow- or fast-loading versions of the same Web site. In the first study, results showed an erotic image that downloaded slowly heightened the arousal level of audience members more than the same image when downloaded at a faster speed.

"That’s a somewhat counter-intuitive result," Sundar said. "That outcome and the concept of download speed in general represent one of the important theoretical contributions of the study. Download speed is alien to users of traditional media such as television. On the Internet, it provides an almost ever-present consideration.

"We believe many practical uses exist through a better understanding of download speed and its impact," he added. "For example, given that arousal is positively related to memory, sites that generate greater physiological excitation are likely to be more memorable. Also, slow downloading can be effectively harnessed by interface designers and Web site developers to improve audience involvement in their sites."

Skin conductance levels, a psychophysiological measure of the degree to which sweat glands get activated by calculating the level of electrical conductance through the skin, provide a common tool for communications researchers because the levels allow researchers to estimate people’s arousal responses. SCLs measure only the intensity, not the nature or kind, of emotion and the increased levels noted in the experiments could be a result of either anticipation or frustration as a result of download speed. Still, while researchers could not differentiate between those emotions, they did show download speed affected how audience members related to the content that was transferred from the Web to their computers.

In each of the experimental designs, audience members exposed to slow-downloading pages and then given the opportunity to freely browse the Web were more active in their investigations. They tried more hyperlinks and visited more sites than audience members who viewed pages with faster initial download speeds. In the past, such behavioral and physiological impacts were understood only as a result of the content of communication, not the manner in which the information was delivered.

Steve Sampsell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht Small enclosure, big sound, clear speech
31.08.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>