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Exploring Viewers' Experiences of Parasocial Interactions with Videogame Streamers on Twitch
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-10-13, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0546
Tim Wulf, Frank M. Schneider, Juliane Queck

Research on parasocial interaction (PSI) has a long tradition in noninteractive environments such as watching TV or listening to radio speakers. In the past years, researchers have started to apply PSI on videogame streaming environments, where the audience can interact with the observed media persona and get immediate feedback on their messages and requests. In a 3 × 2 online experiment (N = 251), we manipulated how a streamer addressed participants (individual vs. collective vs. no addressing) and whether he paid attention to and answered messages in the chat (attention vs. no attention to the chat). Findings show that the more individually participants were addressed and whether the streamer reacted to messages in the chat affected experiences of PSI. Furthermore, alongside their overall enjoyment, PSI predicted viewers' commitment to social norms. We discuss these findings regarding their implications for the conceptualization of PSI in light of interactive novel technologies.