We compared participant responses on three written guardianship scenarios versus visualized versions of the same scenarios in terms of realism, presence, negative affect elicited by the situation, perceived risk, and the choice to intervene. We find that people who received the visual scenarios report higher presence, but not realism, than those who received the written version. Furthermore, visual scenarios elicited stronger negative affect and resulted in a lower likelihood to intervene. Finally, presence, but not negative affect, mediated the relation between condition and the choice to intervene. Implications of the visual scenario method for future research are discussed.