Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Mark Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

B. Gail Wilson, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

James Lenze, Ph.D.


Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has evolved into a common aesthetic fixture within the visual landscape of modern American society. While computers and CGI are relatively new elements of cinematic production, they have a direct and profound impact on the audience experience. This production aesthetic physically stimulates the senses of video consumers potentially at the expense of what many consider to be traditional literary quality. This study examines the interpretation and effects of these CGI enhancements on a college audience by applying Dale’s Cone of Experience to audience perceptions and expectations of realism in videos. Audience believability and satisfaction were measured using a two-group, nonrandom selection quasi-experiment with pre-test and post-test design. Groups were matched using a pre-test survey that identified similarities in demographics and video consumption habits. The post-test survey compared results of the influence of CGI enhancements on audience responses to the impact of traditional effects. Among the results of the study, it was found that CGI did not significantly increase believability and satisfaction. It also did not increase audience recall and learning retention.