Entertainment Studies 2017 Abstracts

Blackish: Deconstruction and the changing nature of black identity • Venise Berry, University of Iowa • The hit ABC television show Blackish explores the changing nature of black identity in America. Specifically, Blackish critically tests a number of core ideas that influence the authenticity of blackness. This analysis examines how black identity and authenticity are communicated within this specific television program as a resistant, satirical narrative effectively deconstructing the commodification of stereotypes, stigmas, racial biases, and historic myths.

Undisclosed information – Serial is My Favorite Murder: Examining Motivations in the True Crime Podcast Audience • Kelli Boling, University of South Carolina • This study explores the true crime podcast audience within the uses and gratifications theoretical frame. Using an online survey (n = 308), this study found that the true crime podcast audience is predominantly female (73%), and five motivations were prominent for users: entertainment, convenience, boredom, voyeurism, and relaxation. All significant motivating factors were found to be more salient for females than for males. Practical and theoretical implications for genre-specific media are discussed.

My Sexual Entertainment, My Vote: How Attitudes Toward Condom Use in Pornography Related to Support for California’s Condom Law • Kyla Garrett Wagner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Joseph Cabosky, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • In 2016, Californians voted down Proposition #60, which aimed to mandate condom use in pornography. This study’s survey of residents assessed how one’s entertainment preferences relate to their support for regulation. Findings generally suggest some aversion to condom use in pornography, especially among heterosexual males. Data suggest the more pornography one watches, the more averse one is to condoms in pornography, as well more opposed to regulation. Results varied more by gender than sexual orientation.

“FYI: This Video is Sponsored:” Exploring Credibility in User-Generated and Professionally-Generated YouTube Videos • Madeline Migis, The University of North Texas; Sara Champlin, The University of North Texas • YouTube now holds the attention of more 18 to 34 year olds than any major cable network. As a result, advertisers capitalize on the popularity of YouTube content creators to broadcast branded information through the creator’s large audiences. A sample of 144 videos, representing 44 creators, were examined. From this dataset, themes were generated that pointing to ways in which credibility and truthfulness are depicted in sponsored and non-sponsored content across user- and professionally-generated content.

Selfie-posting on social media: The influence of narcissism, identification, and gender on celebrity followers • Li Chen; Carol Liebler • The celebrities and the selfie are both prevalent in contemporary popular culture. The present research aims to examine social media users’ narcissism, involvement with celebrity culture, and gender as predictors on their selfie-posting behavior. We recruited 594 respondents through MTurk, who lived in the US and followed at least one celebrity on social media. Respondents completed a 15-minutes online survey through Qualtric. The current study provided empirical evidence of narcissism’s critical role in selfie-posting and involvement with celebrity culture. Results also showed that the identification with celebrity culture and the attitudes towards celebrity selfies served as mediators in the relationship between narcissism and selfie-posting frequency. Meanwhile, gender played a role in these relationships. Based on our study, women post selfies more frequently than men. Interestingly, we also found the interaction effect between respondent gender and celebrity gender on the attitudes towards celebrity selfies.

The Efficacy of Radio Entertainment Education in Disseminating Health Messages: A Meta- Analysis • Pratiti Diddi, Pennsylvania state university; Sushma Kumble, Pennsylvania state university; Fuyuan Shen • The present meta-analytic review of 23 studies (N = 35,138) examined the persuasive effect of radio based entertainment education efforts in the area of health communication. The results suggested that overall persuasion effects of radio messages was small but significant (r=.13, p<.001). There were significant moderating effects for health issues (r = .17, p<0.001), and exposure time (r = .14, p<0.001) and research design setting (r = .14, p<0.001). Gender did not moderate the effect.

Connecting to the Narrative: The influence of relevance, motivation, and realism on narrative identification. • Matt Eastin, The University of Texas at Austin; Vincent Cicchirillo, DePaul; Mary Dunn, The University of Texas at Austin; Fangxin Xu, The University of Texas at Austin • Over the past two decades, researchers have examined video game play through content, player, and engagement differences to better understand both positive and negative outcomes from play. To extend the research agenda and move gaming research beyond the play perspective, this research turns the focus to game narrative elements. Specifically, this study will use a backstory narrative to examine the effects of setting relevance (i.e., location), motivation (i.e., attack and retaliatory violence), and perceived realism, on identification and subsequent state arousal and state hostility. In doing so, this research furthers the understanding of how interactive storytelling can have an impact on a player’s psychological perspective prior to content engagement.

Social Comparison on Facebook and the Impact on Life Satisfaction • Lee Farquhar, Samford University; Theresa Davidson, Samford University • Facebook use, lower self-esteem, and loneliness have been regularly examined in recent years. However, scholars, it seems, have left a gap with regard to social comparisons on Facebook, which now claims over 1.23 billion in active daily users (Facebook Newsroom, 2017). The effects of these comparisons on general well-being outcomes need further examination. This paper examined Facebook Intensity, general Social Comparisons, and Facebook-specific comparisons as predictors of Life Satisfaction and Happiness. Survey data was collected from college students and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk workers. Broadly speaking, social media matters in terms of one’s happiness and life satisfaction. Results indicate the salience of general social comparisons, and, Facebook-specific comparisons to impact Life Satisfaction and Happiness. Facebook Intensity did not serve as a predictor in either of our models; however, time spent on the site predicted Life Satisfaction.

The influence of female lead characters in political TV shows: Links to political engagement • Jennifer Hoewe, University of Alabama; Lindsey Sherrill, University of Alabama • This study examines political television dramas with lead female characters, proposing a model that links viewing of these shows with political engagement. A survey revealed that individuals who regularly viewed Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, or Scandal reported feelings of transportation and connections with the main characters – women in positions of political power and leadership. These parasocial relationships then led to increases in political interest and self-efficacy, with interest then predicting real-world political participation. The findings illustrate that these political dramas – featuring strong lead female characters – have prosocial implications, including the non-stereotypical representation of women and eventual increases in political engagement among viewers.

Co-op Mode: Players’ Parasocial Interactions with Video Game Characters • Kyle Holody, Coastal Carolina University; Sommersill Tarabek, Savannah College of Art and Design • The present study examined parasocial interaction (PI) and parasocial relationships (PR) within the scope of 2011 high-narrative video game The Last of Us. While previous research on PI and PR focused heavily on celebrities and television content, this study expounded on the limited literature concerning players’ cognitive and attitudinal responses to video games. A survey was utilized to examine effects of the game and related variables, such as players’ aggression, transportation, empathy, and morality. Results were compared to an experimental pilot test and suggest that players experience different interactions with in-game characters and that these interactions are related to different cognitive and emotional responses the players have to the game. The results also justify the need for further research into what influences players’ PIs, aggression, and other game effects, and indicate the effects video game players feel while playing are much more complicated and may last longer than currently understood.

Television for Good? An Examination of Depictions of African American Families in Situation Comedies • Brittany Jefferson • The depictions of African Americans in entertainment has often been a topic of debate. This paper reviews the extant literature regarding depictions of African American families on television shows intended to display positive representations free of stereotypes. Despite the stated goals of such programming, characters featured tended to reflect established racial stereotypes or failed to represent realistic experiences shared by African Americans. The consequences and ethical implications of such programming is also explored.

In Contempt of Court?: Unintended Consequences of Watching Courtroom Shows • Khadija Ejaz; Joon Kim, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Nandini Bhalla, University of South Carolina; Jane Weatherred, University of South Carolina • Courtroom shows like Judge Judy frequently top the ratings charts in the United States. This study examines such shows through media system dependency (MSD). Responses from a sample of 401 respondents were gathered using a self-administered online survey. Analysis revealed that watching courtroom shows made viewers dependent on television to understand the world. At the same time, such dependence was related to poor knowledge of the small claims court system. The implications of this finding are discussed in light of other findings that indicated that watching such shows made viewers more likely to participate in both real and television courts.

Integrating the Theory of Planned Behavior and Uses and Gratifications to Understand Music Streaming Behavior • Heidi Bolduc, University of Central Florida; William Kinnally, University of Central Florida • Nielsen Music 360 Research Report indicates that 67% of all music consumers in the U.S. used digital music streaming services to listen, discover, and share music (The Nielsen Company, 2014). Scholars and music professionals are recognizing the importance of understanding the influences behind music streaming behavior. This study proposes an expanded Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) model by integrating the TPB with music streaming motives from the Uses and Gratifications theory. The expansion reflects an effort to gain a better understanding of the intentions to use music streaming services and actual behavior. Results suggest that both the original TPB and expanded TPB models can be successfully applied within the context of digital music streaming service use. Specifically, attitudes and perceived behavioral control drive behavioral intention in the traditional TPB model whereas only attitudes predict behavior. In the expanded TPB model the motives of convenience and information seeking emerged as contributors to intention to use digital music streaming services, while the motives of entertainment and social identification emerged as predictors of streaming behavior. Ultimately, these results reveal fundamental differences between what leads listeners to use the services and what keeps them listening. The implications are discussed.

Exploring the Effects of Viewer Enjoyment of The Apprentice on Perceptions and Voting Behavior for President Trump • Shu-Yueh Lee, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh; Sara Hansen, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh • This research explores how viewer enjoyment of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice as entertainment media impacted attitudes toward Donald Trump and voting intentions in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Data from an online survey with 624 responses were analyzed using path analysis. Meaningfulness in watching the shows contributed to enjoyment, which positively influenced attitudes toward Trump’s charismatic leadership that then predicted intention to vote for him. Implications for media entertainment and culture are discussed.

Dad, Where Are We Going? Analyzing the Popular Chinese Reality TV Show from a Communication Perspective • Sixiao Liu, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Hua Wang • “In this study, we examined a popular Chinese reality TV show Dad, Where Are We Going, using the framework of entertainment-education communication strategy. We analyzed the program content of five celebrity fathers and their children engaging in a variety of challenging activities as well as the audience response on social media. Our quantitative content analysis included two parts: (1) using 10 communication dimensions (five nonverbal and five verbal) for decoding different parenting styles, and (2) evaluating the scale, valence, and insights from audience comments online. We discuss the research findings and implications for parenting and fatherhood in the contemporary Chinese society.

Spoiler Alert: Can Co-Viewing with Smartphones Save TV from YouTube? • Rebecca Nee, San Diego State University; Valerie Barker, sdsu • Viewership of entertainment programming on traditional television channels has been steadily declining. Mobile phones, social media, streaming videos, and YouTube compete for the attention of younger audiences. This study of 18 and 19-year-old college students (N = 345) found television viewing is far from dead, however. The practice of co-viewing virtually with others through a mobile phone enhances the experience for young adults, providing a sense of social capital affinity and gratifying social identity needs.

Television and the role model effect: Exposure to political drama and attitude towards female politicians • Azmat Rasul, Florida State University; Arthur Raney • Entertainment television historically relied on the engaging potential of political broadcasting, and political fiction played a significant role as a narrator of stories about politics and politicians using different plot lines such as comedy, drama, thriller, and action. To understand the processes through which exposure to primetime drama culminates in an attitudinal change, the current study proposes an SEM model to explicate the role of essential mediating variables such as identification, transportation into the narrative, enjoyment, and political self-efficacy, and focuses on direct and indirect effects between media use motivations and attitude toward female politicians. The results indicated that there is a significant relationship between exposure to political drama and audience attitude towards female politicians.

Effects of Customized Ratings on User Evaluations of Television Shows • Jeremy Saks, Ohio University; Carson Wagner, Ohio University • This study analyzes the effects of customized ratings on individuals’ enjoyment of television shows. The study utilizes an experimental methodology that attempts to mimic that of popular media distribution websites, such as Netflix. The results show that individuals report differing levels of enjoyment depending on the ratings they receive prior to viewing shows in three genres despite the fact that the ratings are randomly assigned. The results and implications are discussed.

The role of readers’ performance of a narrative on their beliefs about transgender persons: A mental models approach • Neelam Sharma • Narratives are powerful communication tools that can influence people’s beliefs and attitudes. Narrative processing literature explains cognitive operations involved in information processing in terms of transportation and identification with characters. Narrative performance, however, is an unexplored construct in narrative engagement literature. Narrative performance is a process by which readers bring cognitions and emotions to construct distinct story worlds into which they can be transported. This study advances the narrative processing literature by examining how people’s performance of a narrative affects their story-related beliefs. A three-condition experiment, with 174 voluntary participants, was conducted to gauge the effects of performance on viewers’ beliefs about transgender persons. Multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that narrative performance can weaken the effects of narrative transportation, and performance can be a stronger predictor of viewers’ story-related beliefs. The study discriminates narrative performance from narrative transportation, demonstrating construct validity. This study uses mental models approach as a theoretical basis, and along with operationalization of narrative performance, develops valid and reliable scales for measuring viewers’ beliefs about transgender persons and their propensity to take action in socializing with transgender persons.

Appealing to Niche Markets: A Typology of Transmedia Storytelling for Digital Television • Ryan Stoldt • “Traditional television networks have a limited amount of time available to broadcast content, so programming decisions are based on maximizing potential market reach instead of in appealing to small markets. Digital television’s broadcast time is solely limited by server space and regulation of broadband data transference, so their technological infrastructure affords more opportunities to appeal to smaller markets. These affordances can be seen through the types of programming digital television services produce. This paper proposes a typology of transmedia stories used by digital television services like Netflix and Hulu to appeal to niche markets to grow their business. Five types of transmedia stories were theorized to appeal to varying levels of niche markets: serialized continuations, augmented continuations, world building universes, cross-platform personalities, and adaptations. This typology provides a better understanding of the production practices of digital television networks, an area of research that has received little attention to date.

Binge-Watching: A Concept Explication • Stephen Warren, University of Massachusetts • Binge-watching has yet to be adequately analyzed and researched to determine its effects, despite myriad Americans engaging in the activity. While some studies have attempted to discover its causes or effects, most research fails to operationalize the viewing aspects of binge-watching that make the experience unique. This concept explication reviewed the existing literature on other binge activities and behaviors and attempted to develop guidelines for more specifically defining and measuring binge-watching in future studies.

Behind the Music: How Music Journalists Understand Their Roles and Their Readers • Kelsey Whipple, University of Texas at Austin • Through in-depth interviews, this study explores the professional roles of music journalists and the ways they think about and create content for their audiences. It applies the hierarchy of influences and journalistic role conceptions to a new role for these lifestyle journalists: curator. The findings also suggest that music journalists see consideration of their audiences as limiting, and they are driven to focus on increasingly niche genres of music to differentiate themselves as experts.

Exploring the Business Potential of Location-Based Mobile Games: Taking Pokémon Go as an Example • Linwan Wu, University of South Carolina; Matthew Stilwell, University of South Carolina • Pokémon Go, a location-based mobile game, has been tremendously prevalent ever since its launch in 2016. Advertising professionals have begun to consider this game as a promising advertising platform. This study investigates the business potential of this game by conducting a survey to examine the psychological process of the gameplay and how it leads to advertising effectiveness. Results indicated that players experienced spatial presence, which positively influenced their attitudes toward and behavior intentions to the sponsors. Moreover, spatial presence was positively influenced by players’ game engagement, perceived mobility, and contextual perceived value (CPV). We also identified players’ motives of playing Pokémon Go, including the exercise, entertainment, and social motive. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Don’t Respond to Strangers: How a Groundbreaking Television Drama Serial Helped Raise Domestic Violence Awareness in China • Zhiying Yue; Hua Wang • Don’t Respond to Strangers is the first and only television drama serial about domestic violence in China. Given its purposeful attempt to address domestic violence as a prevalent yet taboo topic, we used entertainment-education (E-E) as an overarching framework and the protection motivation theory (PMT) as our conceptual foundation to examine this program. We first analyzed the messaging in drama serial and the viewer comments posted on online forums about the show. Major themes identified from both the drama serial and viewer comments were consistent for raising awareness and stimulating discussions about domestic violence. Based on the results, we conducted an online survey with 326 adults in China. Within PMT framework, path model results showed that exposure to this drama was significantly associated with perceived severity of domestic violence and perceived reward from tolerating domestic violence. Furthermore, perceived severity and self-efficacy were significant predictors of Domestic Violence Law support and the intention to fight against domestic violence; self-efficacy was also a significant predictor of intention to intervene domestic violence; and perceived reward was the only significant predictor of tolerating domestic violence. These findings have theoretical and practical implications for E-E interventions in domestic violence context

Facebook vs. YouTube Manners: Effects of Pseudonymity on Posting Politeness • Gi Woong Yun, University of Nevada, Reno; Sasha Allgayer, Bowling Green State University • Facebook and YouTube function differently, but particularly in regards to anonymity or pseudonymity of users. This study evaluates public reaction to one of the most contentious topics of current European music and art; Conchita Wurst. Comments from Facebook and YouTube were collected and quantitatively analyzed to discern similarities/differences between the types of comments posted by users on the two platforms. Of particular intrigue was the role pseudonymity and self-identifying information have on social media manners. Overall, many users seemed to be unimpacted by levels of self-identifying information. However, profane language was less frequent and replies to comments were more civil on the network with self-identifying information; Facebook. The results of this study shed some light to online politeness: Systematic mechanisms that identify self and personal networks (Facebook’s use of full name and friendship networks) correlate with increased politeness and reduction of nasty comments towards other users.


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