Communication Theory and Methodology 2010 Abstracts
Sex Differences in Health Information Processing Strategies: The Effect of Sex and Message Appeals (cognitive vs. affective) on College Students’ Attitude towards Binge drinking and Intention to Binge Drink • Hoyoung (Anthony) Ahn, University of Tennessee; Lei Wu, Univerisity of Tennessee • Guided by a selectivity model and Fishbein’s structural model, this research examines the direct and interaction effects of message appeals and sex differences in anti-binge drinking PSAs on college students’ binge drinking attitudes and behavioral intention. A sample of college students (N=250) participated in a 2 (Sex: male vs. female) x 3 (appeals: cognitive vs. affective vs. cognitive and affective) factorial online experiment. Results indicated that combined message appeals (affective and cognitive) shown to females yielded stronger effects by producing lower attitudes toward binge drinking and less intention to binge drinking than did affective appeals shown to female. Also, both affective and cognitive appeals shown to female were significantly more persuasive than either affective or cognitive appeals exposed to male. Affective appeal exposed to male was the least effective. The Fishbein’s structural model was used to assess attitudinal changes and is discussed with respect to its usefulness and application to the assessment of health-related campaigns.
Sex-Based Differences in Message Processing as a Result of Media Literacy Effects on Perceived Desirability of Sexual Media Messages • Erica Austin, Washington State University, Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion; Bruce Pinkleton, Washington State University; Yvonnes Chen, Virginia Tech • Secondary analysis of two quasi-experimental evaluations with pretest and posttest groups (N=922, N=1,098) tested the hypothesis that media literacy changed qualitative assessments of desirability among adolescents such that among those who had the media literacy intervention, high desirability perceptions had lessened effects on outcomes of expectancies, efficacy, and attitudes. Effects differed somewhat for girls and boys. The results showed media literacy education strengthens logical processing and can diminish the influence of affect on decision making.
Modeling Time in Multilevel Models • Michael Beam, The Ohio State University • Linear spline regression and interrupted time-series modeling allows regression slopes to vary between specific events. Combining these techniques with multilevel modeling, researchers can test changes in processes that occur over-time, such as theoretically dynamic models. This paper reviews the literature on linear splines, interrupted time-series and multilevel modeling and provides example analyses for using these tools.
Explicating Media Use 2.0: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination of a Key Communication Concept • Andrew Binder, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This study offers an exhaustive concept explication of media use by examining three key dimensions: cognitive engagement, medium type, and content domain. In order to explore how these dimensions are inter-related, I analyze survey data that tapped respondents’ media use through eighteen indicators. After determining latent factors that yield high internal consistency and construct validity, I conclude by introducing a hierarchy of media use dimensions that reflects the overall relationships among the dimensions.
Not Another Materialist Rhetoric Marco Briziarelli, University of Colorado at Boulder In this paper I will attempt to provide an approach to materialist rhetoric by taking a step backward, prior to what Cloud (1994, p.142) considers the ideological turn in critical rhetoric. This project, as the title shows, implies engaging with Greene (1998, 2004, 2006) as I regard his thought as emblematic of a post-structuralist Marxist tendency more and more present in the political left of rhetoric and communication departments. I will also try to go beyond Cloud-s (1994, 2001, 2002) and Aune-s (1994, 2001) reactions to such trend by engaging more directly with what I consider the core concepts of Marxist post-structuralism: a specific understanding of determination and signification.
In agreement with Cloud, Macek and Aune (2006, p.74), I maintain that Greene’s framework is incapable to provide rational and normative parameters of evaluation of the present conditions. However, I will add to their arguments the consideration that if one wants to pushback against post-structuralist Marxism then one must engage with the main contradiction between a call to praxis and an understanding of determination and signification that seems to inhibit it. In fact, the deficiencies pointed out in Greene’s materialist rhetoric originate from a perspective that stops linking societal elements in causal terms and replaces this with a Hall-Althusser informed theory of articulation and with a non substantial and relational understanding power.
A New (Methodological) Look at Science Knowledge Gaps: Merging Trend-data to Examine Widening Nanotechnology Knowledge Gaps • Michael Cacciatore, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin; Elizabeth Corley, Arizona State University • The growing consensus among scholars, scientists, and outreach specialists working in the nanotechnology industry is that the public is largely uninformed about the science behind nanotechnology. Despite major efforts aimed at communicating with the U.S. public about nanotechnology, recent studies have shown that there has been little change in the overall level of nanotechnology knowledge reported by public opinion surveys. Moreover, research has found knowledge gaps forming between the most and least educated (Corley & Scheufele, 2010). However, most of the research on public nanotechnology knowledge levels has examined changes in knowledge for the public as a whole or in simple cross-sectional studies as opposed to examining differences across diverse sets of publics and across multiple data collections. In this study we take a more granular approach by examining U.S. public knowledge levels across different levels of education and media use. We explore changes in knowledge levels and knowledge gaps among nationally-representative samples in 2004 and 2007 for different groups based on education levels and media use using data from two nationally representative telephone surveys. Our results show that increased science Internet use among low education groups can help narrow knowledge gaps that are likely to occur based on education. Interestingly, neither science newspaper use, nor science television use had significant impacts on the formation or leveling of these knowledge gaps based on education. Thus, it appears as though the Internet is uniquely positioned to play a key role in the reduction of nanotechnology knowledge gaps.
The influence of mood and information processing on recall: Exploring item-specific, relational and narrative processing • Michael Dahlstrom, Iowa State University; Sela Sar, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication • While both individual mood states and information processing strategies are present during all forms of communication, their potential interaction remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to investigate if item-specific and relational processing exhibit a mood congruency effect and 2) to explore if narrative processing behaves as an extension of relational processing. Results support the hypothesis that recall of item-specific and relational processing tasks are moderated by mood in the direction of congruency. Results also suggest that while narrative processing does interact with mood, it does not mirror relational processing but instead behaves more similarly to item-specific processing.
Group Involvement and the Spiral of Silence: Using Agent-Based Modeling to Understand Opinion Expression • Nick Geidner, The Ohio State University • The spiral of silence is one of the primary social explanations of public opinion formation currently employed in social science research. In short, Noelle-Neumann (1974; 1993) argues that individual-level opinion expression is a function of the opinion climate of the society. This paper adds a macro-level boundary condition to by the theory by examining how group involvement can affect the spiraling process. Using agent-based modeling, a simulation, replicating the assumptions in the spiral of silence, was created. Two other models, which added groups to the simulated society, were also created. Through running and comparing the results of these simulations, it was found that the addition of groups allowed for the survival of the societal-level minority opinions in certain cases. Further research should enhance the models used in this paper and should use agent-based modeling to examine other social communication theories.
Learning through Friending: Informational uses of online network sites and individuals’ social capital and participation • Homero Gil de Zuniga, University of Texas – Austin; Sebastian Valenzuela, University of Texas at Austin; Nakwon Jung, The University of Texas at Austin Citizens’ consumption of media and its effects on the realm of political and civic participation as well as the foundation of social capital have long been scrutinized. Research points out that traditional news consumption activates people’s engagement civically and politically, as well as it facilitates the proliferation of social capital. A recent growing body of research has also tested how digital media use for informational purposes also positively contributes to the democratic process and the creation of social capital. Nevertheless, in the context of today’s socially networked society with the rise of Social Network Sites, new perspectives need to be considered. Based on US national data, results show that after controlling not only for demographic variables but also for traditional media use, the use of traditional sources of information online and individuals network size, seeking information via SNS was not statistically significant when it came to predict social capital; however, it does have a positive effect in predicting peoples’ civic and political – online and offline – participatory behaviors.
Anti-Americanism in the American Mind: National Identity, News Content and Attributions of Blame • Jason Gilmore, University of Washington; Lindsey Meeks, University of Washington. This study theorizes that distinct messages about the causes of anti-American sentiment in the world influence how people arrive at their sense of national identification. We conducted an experiment to examine the impact of these messages on assignments of blame for anti-American sentiment, the cognitive link between these attributions of blame and people’s sense of identification with America, and the broader associative network of political and news factors that contribute to formations of national identification.
Effects of Political Talk Show Discussion on Mobilizing Citizens: Applying an Approach-Avoidance Motivation Framework • Melissa R. Gotlieb, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Sojung Claire Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Itay Gabay, University of Wisconsin – Madison; Xuan Liang, University of Wisconsin-Madiosn; Chia-I Hou, University of Wisconsin at Madison; Douglas McLeod, School of Journalism and Mass Communication • We use approach-avoidance motivation as a framework for examining the conditions under which exposure to political talk show discussion mobilizes citizens. Results show that debate between uncivil guests produces negative emotions and interacts with style of the host to affect likelihood of participation. When the host is deliberative, incivility facilitates participation, but when the host is aggressive, incivility breeds apathy. Additional analysis reveals adverse effects of the aggressive host on cognitive engagement with the show.
The Effects of Random Error in Content Analysis: What Does Intercoder Reliability Really Mean? Joe Bob Hester, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This paper explores random error in content analysis. After discussing current beliefs about percent agreement, chance-corrected agreement measures, and reliability standards, the author presents a technique for estimating the effects of random error. Preliminary guidelines suggest that a minimum 94% percent agreement is necessary to be 95% confident that coding results are within ±5% of the results that would be obtained if random error were eliminated.
From Network Society to Social Networks in Mass Communication: Toward a Theoretical and Methodological Integration in the Digital Age • Itai Himelboim, University of Georgia, Telecommunications; Tsan-Kuo Chang, Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong • This paper proposes approaching networks as organizational mechanisms that dictate specific patterns of interaction and communication among social actors. It formulates an integrated theoretical framework for communication research in the context of Manuel Castells’ work on the network society and the interdisciplinary perspectives on network structure. This paper identifies points of theoretical convergence related to the mapping of these two distinct bodies of literature—the conceptualization of networks as self-organized systems, the dynamics of growing inequalities in networks, and the short distances within networks. It draws theoretical and methodological implications and future research suggestions to the study of technology and society, and computer-mediated communication.
Cultural Predispositions, Mass Media, and Opinion Expression: Examining the Spiral of Silence in Singapore • Shirley Ho, Nanyang Technological University; Vivian Chen, Nanyang Technological University; Clarice Sim, Nanyang Technological University • This study examines the influence of cultural predispositions and mass media on public outspokenness in Singapore, using the spiral of silence theory as a theoretical framework. A nationally representative telephone survey of 979 adults in Singapore was conducted. Respondents were asked to indicate how likely they would be to publicly express their own opinion and offer a rationale for their own opinion on the issue of legalization of same-sex marriage. Results indicate that fear of isolation and saving face were negatively, while news media use and issue salience were positively associated with individuals’ willingness to express their opinion on the issue. Fear of isolation was negatively, while uncertainty avoidance, news media use, and issue salience were positively associated with willingness to offer a rationale. Notably, news media use moderated the influence of fear of isolation and saving face on outspokenness. Our findings partially supported the spiral of silence theory.
Putting out Fire with Gasoline: Gamson Hypothesis, Political Information and Political Activity Tom Johnson, Texas Tech University; Barbara Kaye, John Hopkins • This study examined the Gamson hypothesis within the context of the Internet as well as alternative sources of political information. This study found that Dissidents (those high in trust and low in internal efficacy) outnumbered the Assureds (high trust, high internal efficacy) by more than 2-1. In line with the Gamson Hypothesis, Dissidents, are more likely to protest the government than Assureds who confine their political activities to supporting an issue or a candidate.
Investigating the process and effect of the reception and provision of emotional social support on breast cancer patients’ health outcomes in online cancer support groups • Eunkyung Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jeong Yeob Han, University of Georgia; Tae Joon Moon, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Bret Shaw, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dhavan Shah, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Fiona McTavish, University of Wisconsin-Madison; David Gustafson, University of Wisconsin-Madison • In order to better understand the process and effect of the social support exchanges within computer-mediated social support (CMSS) groups for breast cancer patients, this study examines 1) the dynamic interplay between emotional support giving and receiving and 2) the relative effects of support giving and receiving on patients’ psychosocial health outcomes. Data collected from 177 patients who participated in online cancer support groups within the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS) revealed that those who receive higher levels of support from others have fewer breast cancer-related concerns, while those who give higher levels of support to others reframe their own problems in a positive light and adopt more positive strategies for coping. In addition to these positive effects, we also found that emotional support giving and receiving tend to reinforce each other. The theoretical and practical implications for effective health campaigns for women with breast cancer are discussed.
Talking about Poverty: News Framing of Responsibility and the Public’s Support for Government Aid to the Poor • Sei-Hill Kim, University of South Carolina; James Shanahan, Boston University; Doo-Hun Choi, University of Wisconsin • Analyzing news articles and transcripts, we examine how the American media have framed the question of who is responsible for poverty. Linking the media content to survey data, we also explore what effects responsibility framing has on the audience. We found that news coverage of poverty focused largely on societal-level causes and solutions. A consequence of the media focusing predominantly on social responsibilities was to elicit more societal attributions of responsibility among the audience. The amount of television news viewing was significantly associated with perceived government responsibility to deal with poverty. The survey respondents also indicated that the greater the amount of news viewing, the more favorable attitudes toward the poor and the greater support for government aid programs.
Ambivalence Reduction and Polarization in the Campaign Information Environment: The Interaction between Individual-Level and Contextual-Level Influences • Young Mie Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ming Wang, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Melissa R. Gotlieb, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Itay Gabay, University of Wisconsin – Madison; Stephanie Edgerly, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This study examines how the campaign information environment influences ambivalence reduction, and consequently, attitude extremity or polarization. The study utilized a hierarchical modeling to explore the interaction between the effect of individual-level predispositions and that of contextual-level campaign information environment. The findings suggest that the volume of campaign advertising exerts influences in ambivalence reduction and polarization, presumably functioning as a motivator for communication. The patterns amplified among partisans. The implications are discussed.
Why and How Consumers Use the Internet: Online Uses and Gratifications Revisited Tien-Tsung Lee, University of Kansas; Susan Novak, University of Kansas • Using a national survey of more than 7,000 U.S. consumers, the present study examines the relationships among a wide variety of Internet uses, consumption of traditional media, various personality and demographic characteristics, and several types of civic engagement. It groups 19 different Internet uses into three categories and identifies their predictors. It can be argued that this study has made both a theoretical and methodological contribution to U & G research.
Learning from incidental exposure: An investigation of the causal relationship between unintended news encounters online and awareness of public affairs information • Jae Kook Lee, Indiana University • Employing a laboratory experiment, this study investigates the causal relationship between incidental exposure to news online and awareness of public affairs information. Manipulations of incidental exposure to news online were found to influence subjects’ recognition and recall of information in the news stories. Subjects in treatment groups recognized and recalled more information about news stories used as stimuli, compared to those in control group. Findings of this study indicate that people can learn about public affairs information via the route of incidental exposure on the Internet. Implications are discussed.
H1N1-Pandemic Risk Perception: The Influence of Media Dependency, • Carolyn Lin, University of Connecticut; Carolyn Lagoe, University of Connecticut • When the H1N1 pandemic was first reported last April, young healthy adults, for the first time, were identified as one of the high-risk groups for contracting the virus. The current study was the first to explore the impact of influenza communication on college students’ risk perceptions. Study results suggest that college students’ beliefs and attitudes regarding the threat posed by the H1N1 virus were only moderately influenced by either the media or interpersonal communication channels.
Virtually Ethnographic: Considering Method and Methodologies in Virutal Worlds • Rosa Mikeal Martey, Colorado State University; Kevin Shiflett, Colorado State University • In order to explore what ethnographic approaches offer the study of virtual spaces, we discuss a study of communication and behavior in Second Life. Through an examination of two key factors in ethnographic research, defining the site and the role of the researcher, we use our project as a sounding board to suggest how the benefits of ethnographic approaches can be extended past traditional boundaries. We examine the implications of using ethnographic methodologies with what are arguably not ethnographic methods at all. We concludes with implications for performing observational research of different kinds in virtual worlds.
Exposure to Counter-Attitudinal News Coverage and the Timing of Voting Decisions Jörg Matthes, University of Zurich • This paper investigates the effects of counter-attitudinal news coverage on the timing of voting decisions. We present two studies that combine representative panel data with an extensive content analysis of news media. Both studies find that mass-mediated cross-pressures delay voting decisions when people hold uncertain prior attitudes. There are some hints that counter-attitudinal coverage accelerates voting decisions when people hold their campaign attitudes with high attitude certainty.
Do Hostile Opinion Environments Harm Political Participation? The Moderating Role of Generalized Social Trust • Jörg Matthes, University of Zurich • This paper attempts to reevaluate the democratic implications of opinion diversity by showing that politically hostile opinion environments do not necessarily discourage political participation. Based on representative survey data, we find that a demobilizing effect of hostile opinion environments decreases with rising levels of generalized social trust. For individuals with a low level of social trust, exposure to a hostile social network can dampen participation. The opposite is true for people high in social trust.
Spiral of Speaking Out: Conflict Seeking of Democratic Youth in Republican Counties • Mike McDevitt, University of Colorado • A panel study of high school seniors during the 2006-midterm elections shows a striking pattern of Democratic youth thriving when exposed to hostile ideological climates. Democratic adolescents were more likely to disagree in conversations, test opinions, and listen to opponents if they lived in conservative counties compared with Democratic youth living in liberal counties. The results suggest that youth Democratic identity is distinguished from Republican identity as an overtly constructivist, deliberative, and conflict-seeking orientation.
Political ad tone, reactance, affect, perceived effects, and political participation • Patrick Meirick, Oklahoma; Gwendelyn Nisbett, OU; Hyunjung Kim, Oklahoma • This study begins with a replication of third-person work on political advertising that takes account of the message desirability of ads from different sides as well as target groups across the political spectrum. It then extends this approach into the recent examinations of the consequences of perceived media effects for political behavior. One new wrinkle added in this study was the inclusion of both negative and positive ads. Negative ads tended to yield lower candidate attitude effects scores across the board, but they also increased third-person perception, mostly through perceived effects on self. Affect and reactance also are considered as correlates of perceived media effects, TPP, and political participation.
The Effects of Comedic Media Criticism on Media Producers Lindsay Newport, Louisiana State University The study analyzed comedic media criticism and the effect it has on the practices of media producers using The Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s early 2009 criticism of the work of Mad Money with Jim Cramer host Jim Cramer. A quantitative content analysis of claims (N=510) pulled from Mad Money transcripts revealed little to no evidence that Stewart’s criticism impacted Cramer’s work. Discussion of the results’ implication on viewers, their attitudes, the news media, and democracy followed.
Anti-Americanism as a media effect? Arab Media, Prior Cognitions, and Public Opinion in the Middle East Erik Nisbet, Ohio State University; Teresa Myers, Ohio State University • Many have attributed anti-American sentiment within Arab countries to a highly negative information environment propagated by regional Arab satellite news channels such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabia. However, empirical evidence evaluating the linkages between media exposure and opinion about the United States remains scant due to data availability and simplistic understanding of media effects. Drawing upon media effects, public opinion, and social identity theory and employing five years of survey data collected across six Arab countries that includes measures of media use behaviors and opinions of nearly 20,000 Arab respondents, this paper examines the relationship between media exposure to Arab satellite TV and opinion about the United States. We also demonstrate how political schemas among Arab audiences play an important role in moderating the relationship between Arab media use and public opinion. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.
Michael Jordan, Michael Vick, or just some guy named Michael: Exploring Priming Effectiveness based on Valence, Mode, and Familiarity Temple Northup, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Francesca Dillman Carpentier, UNC-Chapel Hill • In today’s society, it is nearly impossible to escape the influence of the media. Because of that, there has been no shortage of research exploring the possible effects media messages have on media consumers. In particular, numerous studies have examined the way the media can act as primes that affect our judgments – often without our explicit awareness. This study builds on prior research by exploring the effectiveness of a prime based on its modality, valence, and familiarity. Results suggest that primes are most effective when image and text are redundant in valence, provided the image is concrete in nature. There is also some support for a negativity bias. Findings are discussed in light of second-generation priming questions regarding when primes will yield effects.
Another Condition for Successful Deliberation: A Mathematical Approach • Poong Oh, University of Southern California • This study investigated the conditions under which democratic decision-making processes – majority rule and democratic deliberation – produce better outcomes, which must be distinguished from those that simply satisfy more people. The logical extension of Condorcet’s Jury Theorem showed that only when individual voters are informed of at least more than one alternative, the majority rule produces right decisions with a probability higher than 50%, and that as the number of the voters increases, the reliability of the majority’s decision accordingly increases. Democratic deliberation, in particular, Fishkin’s (1991) Deliberative Polling experiments, possibly increases the likelihood of cross-cutting exposure and thereby produces significant changes in opinions. However, a computational model based on the balance theory (Heider, 1946; 1958) suggested that the opinion changes resulted from deliberative polling experiments were nothing other than those resulted from random fluctuation. Specifically, the deliberation among those who have different views but no preexisting relations with each other does not necessarily produce a better decision; but rather a different one. Furthermore, the computational model suggested that the strong and positive relations between people with different viewpoints, in addition to cross-cutting exposure, were required for successful deliberation. On the other hand, the strong and positive relations only among like-minded people led to group polarization. The study discussed the implications for the new media environment and suggested the direction of future research.
The Effect of Narrative News Format on Empathy For Stigmatized Groups • Mary Beth Oliver, The Pennsylvania State University; James P. Dillard, Pennsylvania State University; Keunmin Bae, Pennsylvania State University; Daniel J. Tamul, Pennsylvania State University • The primary aim of this study was to empirically evaluate the extent to which news story format (narrative vs. non-narrative) can initiate empathic processes that might produce more favorable evaluations of stigmatized groups. Participants (N = 399) read one of two versions of a story that described health-care related dilemmas for either immigrants, prisoners, or the elderly. The data showed that the narrative formatted produce more compassion toward the individuals in the story, more favorable attitudes toward the group, more beneficial behavioral intentions, and more information seeking behavior. Although the process could be modeled so as to include a reduced version of the transportation scale (i.e., story involvement), narrative engagement, when measured in this fashion, was not a defining feature of the empathic process. No significant effects of story type were observed on counter-compassionate emotions (i.e., fear, anger, and disgust). The results speak to the potential for narrative news formats to create more egalitarian attitudes toward members of stigmatized groups.
Mechanisms of Media Campaign Effectiveness in Children’s Physical Activity Contexts: Expanding Normative Influence in the Theory of Planned Behavior • Hye-Jin Paek, Michigan State University; Hyun Jung Oh, Michigan State University; Thomas Hove, Michigan State University This study explicates mechanisms of media campaign effectiveness in the context of children’s physical activity. Our model expands the Theory of Planned Behavior by integrating injunctive and descriptive norms into its normative mechanism. Analysis of a nationally representative evaluation survey among 2,071 tweens indicates that campaign exposure is significantly related to behavioral intention only indirectly. Perceived behavioral control and descriptive norms are more strongly related to behavioral intention than attitudes and subjective and injunctive norms.
Effects of Rationality and Discounting Cues on Attitude Changes toward Soft Drinks over Time CHIA-HSIN PAN, CHINESE CULTURE UNIVERSITY, TAIPEI, TAIWAN • This study attempts to investigate the effects of information processing styles and discounting cues on participants’ immediate and delayed attitude changes. A 2 (high/low rationality) _ 2 (with/without discounting cue) factorial design was employed to examine the extent to which the persuasiveness of a brand name soft drink’s campaign messages to college students. Results revealed the interaction effect between factors on attitude changes over time. Applications on health promotions were suggested.
Transportation into Vivid Media Violence and Viewer Fright Reactions • Karyn Riddle, University of Wisconsin, Madison • Prior research exploring transportation into violent narratives suggests that the transportation experience can lead to story-consistent attitudes and beliefs (Green & Brock, 2000). The present study will extend this research by focusing on transportation processes and discrete emotions as outcomes. In an experiment, 76 participants were exposed to vivid and non-vivid versions of a violent television program. Findings suggest that participants were more transported into the vivid version. Furthermore, transported viewers were more likely to experience the discrete emotion of fear than less transported viewers. Finally, transported viewers reported higher excitation levels, perceived the media content as more realistic, and gave the media violence higher ratings of graphicness. Implications for transportation and media violence research are discussed.
A Comparative Grouping Method: Studying Meaning Construction Using a Hybrid Approach Sue Robinson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Andrew Mendelson, Temple University • This article maps a hybrid methodology by fusing elements of experimental design with qualitative techniques. Called a comparative grouping method, this method utilizes focus groups and in-depth interviews and employs experimental-stimulus conditions typically associated with quantitative research within two qualitative studies. This mixed-method research draws on advantages of quantitative measures to better understand meaning construction and gain a more holistic reading of response differences between medium formats.
Perceived risk as a mediator of mood effects on the effectiveness of health PSAs: differential effects for high vs. low relevance messages • Sela Sar, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication; George Anghelcev, Penn State University • Affect, and especially pre-existing affect, is a neglected variable in health communication research. However, the emotional state of an audience right before they encounter a persuasive health message is likely to influence the effectiveness of that message. The present study finds that the effect of pre-existing mood on health message effectiveness is mediated by the perceived risk of contracting the disease mentioned by the message. We examine the underlying psychological mechanisms and reveal how this mediation effect is shaped by the perceived relevance of the message. Results support the hypotheses and have significant theoretical and practical consequences.
The Media and Identity Scale: Some Evidence of Construct Validity • John Dimmick, The Ohio State University; Melanie Sarge, The Ohio State University • The current paper presents evidence of the construct validity of the Media and Identity scale, which suggests that a major reason people utilize media is that they find ways to connect the media and its content with their personal and social identities. The first and second sections of this paper review the domain of and scale for the media and identity construct. The third section provides evidence of construct validity of the Media and Identity scale by demonstrating that the measure is empirically related to theoretically relevant variables – media and identity outcomes – which are presented, defined, and tested with a confirmatory factor analysis. Practical utility of the scale is addressed in the discussion section of the paper.
Reinforcing Spirals of Negative Affects and Selective Attention to Advertising in a Political Campaign • Christian Schemer, University of Zurich • The present study investigates self-reinforcing spiral processes between negative affect toward ethnic minorities and the attention to political advertising in a direct-democratic campaign dealing with the issue of the asylum law restriction in Switzerland. Based on data from a three-wave panel survey the study found evidence for self-reinforcing spiral processes. Specifically, the initial attention to political advertising elicited negative affects toward asylum seekers in the course of the political campaign. At the same time, these affective reactions enhanced people’s attention to political advertising. These findings do not only indicate the presence of self-reinforcing spiral processes. They also suggest that this spiral process is mainly fueled by cues emanating from the political campaign.
Value Resonance and Value Framing Effects on Voting Intentions in Direct-Democratic Campaigns Christian Schemer, University of Zurich; Werner Wirth, University of Zurich; Jörg Matthes, University of Zurich • This study offers insights into how news media frames interact with existing value orientations in shaping voter preferences. It is assumed that the news framing of an issue in terms of cherished sociopolitical values influences policy preferences of audience members. This framing effect should be more pronounced when news frames resonate with people’s existing value predispositions. These assumptions were tested in a real-world setting of a political campaign in Switzerland dealing with the issue of naturalizations of immigrants. Based on a data set in which the data of a two-wave panel survey were matched with content analytic data, the present research demonstrated frame-resonance effects for news reporting about the pro campaign. That is, framing the issue in terms of the notion that the Swiss people should have the final say in naturalization procedures shaped voting preferences only for voters whose basic values of social order, tradition, and security (high authoritarians) were touched. In contrast, a main effect of the opponents’ framing in the news on voting preferences was found. Thus, the majority followed the pragmatic and material framing of the opponents who put emphasis on a fair and pragmatic solution of the naturalization issue.
The role of exemplification in shaping third-person perceptions and support for restrictions on video games • Mike Schmierbach, Penn State University; Qian Xu, Penn State University; Michael Boyle, West Chester University • The origins of third-person perceptions remain uncertain. We investigate whether media content might play a role, demonstrating that news content presenting exemplars can increase third-person perceptions and potentially influence support for restrictions on games. Data from an experiment also show that media content explicitly describing content as harmful does not exert a similar effect.
Identity salience and policy support: Barack Obama, group identity cues, and message effects Penelope Sheets, University of Washington • On a national stage, a politician’s emphasis upon national identity should elicit positive attitudes among voters toward their fellow group-member, the candidate. However, the nation is not the only collective to which American citizens belong; instead, racial, religious, regional, partisan, and other social groups are often salient to individuals, providing a source of positive self-definition and self-esteem that can not be entirely ignored in the face of the national group. These differing, perhaps competing, identities present a navigational challenge for politicians communicating with differing slices of the public. Studies have shown that when white participants are asked directly to think about their racial group (versus their national group), they are less likely to support certain policies. But what happens when racial or national cues are embedded in the policy message itself, which is a more accurate approximation of the real-world political environment? This study reports results of a survey-experiment that examined how policy messages that cue race or nation, attributed to Barack Obama, affect voters’ attitudes toward the policy as well as their interpretations of the policy’s scope and impact. Respondents had more positive attitudes toward the policy when couched in national (versus racial) cues, although these effects are moderated by respondents’ levels of national identification.
Game Theory and Mass Communication: Applications and Insights for Future Use • Amy Sindik, University of Georgia • This study examines the contributions game theory has made to the field of mass communication, and offers suggestions for the increased use of game theory in the field. Previous studies have analyzed game theory in the areas of auctions, competition, online reputation, participant behavior, programming, public relations and strategic management. However, a gap in the literature exists for an overall examination of game theory’s place—and future potential—in mass communication research. While studies have examined game theory’s role in specific areas of mass communication, no one has systematically analyzed the overarching implications of these separate studies. This paper adds to the theoretical literature by compiling the central findings and analyzing the ways game theory can contribute to future mass communication research. This study analyzed the body of game theory research by reviewing previous studies that used game theory, provided an overview of game theory’s fit in the field, and offered suggestions for future use of game theory in mass communications. The study found that game theory is most useful in areas of mass communication where rational behavior is valued and recommends that game theory be applied to mass communication research with greater frequency.
Emails from the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaigns: Communication and Mobilization Melissa Smith, Mississippi State University; Barry Smith, Mississippi University for Women The 2008 presidential campaign marked the first time that more than half of all Americans went online to participate in or learn more about the campaigns. Because of this shift toward online and social media, political campaigns are working hard to find ways of reaching potential voters in cyberspace. The Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin campaigns in 2008 attempted to reach and mobilize voters in cyberspace using a variety of methods. The campaigns employed direct-marketing industry tactics in creating effective email messages, which include keeping messages short, offering multiple links within each email message, and encouraging subscribers to forward messages to a friend. This paper analyzes the content and formatting of these campaign email messages to determine their effectiveness. Email messages sent by the campaigns were coded for a number of different categories. These included seven primary areas: overall multimedia content, political issues, parasocial interaction, mobilization, discussion of the candidate, discussion of the opponent, and campaign news. A number of differences were noted, including frequency of emails sent, and the McCain campaign’s use of issues in the messages, versus the Obama-Biden campaign’s attempt to connect more personally with supporters. The Obama campaign seems to have done a better job overall of using email to mobilize supporters.
Selecting Daily Newspapers in China for Content Analysis: A Comparison of Sampling Methods and Sample Sizes • Yunya Song, Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong; Tsan-Kuo Chang, Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong • Following similar studies in the United States, this study compares different sampling methods and sample sizes in the selection of daily newspapers in China for content analysis of the news. Consistent with previous research focusing on U.S. daily newspapers, the results show that the method of constructed week sampling is more efficient than simple random sampling or consecutive day sampling, and a single constructed week allows reliable estimates of content in a population of six months of newspaper editions even for highly volatile content variables. The weekday-plus-Saturday constructed week sampling, an oft-used sampling stratification approach in content analyses of Chinese daily newspapers, however, did not perform as efficiently as the full constructed week samples. As many as 12-day weekday-plus-Saturday constructed week samples may be needed for the estimation of the news content, depending on the type of variables being analyzed.
Mapping the Intellectual Structure of Framing Research Through Citation and Cocitation Analysis: A Social Network Perspective • Zixue Tai, International Communication Division • Framing has been the most productive line of communication research in the past decade. With the explosive growth of academic literature comes the need for a reflexive study of the nature of knowledge production and patterns of scholarly communication among active researchers in the field. This study combines citation/cocitation analysis with social network analysis (SNA) in examining the intellectual maps and structural relations of the knowledge-sharing networks of framing research by analyzing data from a sample of 125 journal articles published from 2000 to 2008. The results reveal key sets and clusters of citations that point to a number of emerging research fronts and growth areas; it also offers insight on intellectual linkages among key literature.
What’s a good citizen to do? Exploring the emergence of civic norms among young citizens Kjerstin Thorson, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This study investigates the endorsement of civic norms within a cohort of our youngest citizens, Americans who were 12-17 years old during the 2008 presidential election. It explores the variables that predict endorsement of informed citizen and value-expressive citizenship norms. A typology of citizenship models based on norm endorsement is presented as the precursor to an analysis diagnosing factors that help to build bridges across distinct citizenship models.
Materialism, Postmaterialism and Agenda-Setting Effects: The Values-Issues Consistency Hypothesis • Sebastian Valenzuela, University of Texas at Austin • Previous research has found that agenda-setting effects vary according to individuals’ need for orientation (NFO). This study posits that values also determine what issues people think are important. Based on content analysis and survey panel data from a representative sample, the study shows that—in addition to NFO—materialist and postmaterialist values moderate agenda-setting effects. The results provide support for a theoretical link between agenda setting and value change theory.
Reconceptualizing Political Blogs as Part of Elite Political Media • Aaron Veenstra, Southern Illinois University Carbondale • Despite a literature on blogs that dates back nearly a decade, scholars have yet to reach a consensus conceptual definition for the blog as an object or as a medium. Most research on blogs relies on a broad, shallow structural definition of blogs as sites that display frequently updated posts in reverse-chronological order. However, when blogs or blogging is operationalized, this definition is often disregarded in favor of a third-party tool such as the use of blog index sites (e.g., Technorati, BlogPulse) or reliance on survey respondents to decide what they think blog refers to. The very feature modularity of blogs that makes them so difficult to define has also made it easy for traditional media organizations to adopt many features typically associated with blogs, such as user commenting. Newspapers and magazines have also begun featuring their own blogs, and new publications such as The Huffington Post and Politico blur the boundaries with stylistic diversion from journalistic norms and their pursuit of links from the blogosphere. This paper outlines an approach to online news and political media based not on asserted medium distinctions, but on an analysis of the attributes of news and political sites based on the mix of attributes approach (Eveland, 2003). This approach allows for a more complex understanding of how political media operate and interact online, and a more fine-grained understanding of the effects of social media occur.
The Correspondent, the Combatant, and the Comic: How Moderator Style and Guest Civility Shape News Credibility • Emily Vraga, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Mitchell Bard, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Leticia Bode, University of Wisconsin – Madison; D. Jasun Carr, UW-Madison; Stephanie Edgerly, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Courtney Johnson, University of Wisconsin – Madison; Young Mie Kim, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dhavan Shah, University of Wisconsin-Madison • An increasingly competitive media landscape has caused stylistic changes in news programming. This experiment employs a 3×2 design to examine how moderator style and guest tone influence media perceptions. Results illustrate that among the three moderator styles — correspondent, combatant, and comic — the correspondent moderator produced the highest ratings of media credibility and program evaluations without limiting entertainment value. However, guest tone does not directly or indirectly affect perceptions of the program or the media.
Internet buzzword or theory-grounded concept? User-generated content explicated • Justin Walden, Pennsylvania State University • User-generated content has emerged recently as a significant discussion topic in popular and technology-trade publications. Scholars have likewise considered this Web 2.0 phenomenon in research studies. However, a literature review suggests that the concept’s key theoretical dimensions and mechanisms are often overlooked in studies. Relying on Chaffee’s (1991) guide for concept explication, this article reviews studies in which UGC has appeared, considers current UGC definitions, and proposes modified theoretical and operational definitions that better encapsulate the concept’s true essence. Specifically, this paper argues that UGC is: principally tied to Web 2.0 and the Internet; found at websites and available through applications that enable feedback and that foster interactivity; amateur content that is created within a redefined media marketplace in which the user/consumer is activated; and produced by people with a wide range of motivations and who most likely feel a strong sense of agency. This article also discusses concept-specific avenues for future research.
Modeling Political Consumerism among Youths: An Ecological Systems Approach • Rob Wicks, University of Arkansas Communication Department; Ron Warren, University of Arkansas Communication Department • Studies of political consumerism (i.e., political- or value-oriented consumerism) are a relatively recent development in the literature on political and civic engagement. This study employs Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory of child development as a first attempt to build an explanatory model of teens’ socialization into political consumption behaviors. Structural equation modeling indicates that certain cultural factors (e.g., church attendance, parent education) influence micro-level systems within which children might acquire political consumer behaviors (including parent-child interaction and online media use).
State of Ontological Practice Theory • Yaping XU, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University • Since its birth in 1980s, Gilles Deleuze’s Ontological Practice Theory (OPT) triggered a group of studies which applied and testified his redefined cinematic typology and subversive notions that image making as subjective (re-)construction of reality, especially in terms of intercultural bred image makers, to analyze respectively specific transformations appeared amid the formal properties of film. This paper gives a brief explanation to OPT and reviews a group of rigorous research deploying Deleuze’s perspectives, finally with a evaluation this theory’s powers and limitations, so as to give recommendations to the future research against contemporary pluralistic cultural environment, for a better understanding of the image meaning making process from a bottom-up viewpoint.
Motivational Systems and Health Message Framing: Testing Two Competing Accounts Changmin Yan, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Washington State University • This study examines two competing accounts of health message framing. While one camp conceptualizes message frames based on the end state’s desirability (the desirability account), the other posits to construe frames according to their outcome probability (the probability account). Through two sets of 2×2 mixed design, motivational systems (behavioral inhibition system and behavioral approach system) by end-state desirability frames (undesirability and desirability) and motivational systems (behavioral inhibition system and behavioral approach system) by outcome probability frames (sure and uncertain), the two models were tested. While message recipients were able to perceive both frame conceptualizations, the outcome probability account was found to offer a better prediction on framing’s interaction with motivational systems. Theoretical implications were discussed at the end.Print friendly