Areas of Academic Strength

Media Effects

This research stream focuses on social and psychological effects of media messages and technologies upon individuals.

Faculty research often takes a multi-disciplinary approach in applying theories of communication, psychology, marketing, and other social sciences to investigate the influences of media content and form on audience perceptions, attitudes, memories, emotions and behaviors. Research methods are primarily empirical, involving mostly experiments, surveys and content analyses.

Current Faculty Research Foci

  1. The psychological processes underlying uses and effects of new media technologies.

    Faculty and graduate students conduct research on how formal/structural features unique to the Internet (e.g., animation, interactivity, download speed) affect online users’ cognitions and emotions, as well as their psychological processing of Website content such as online news and advertising. An emerging area of research examines new-media use among college students.

  2. Media portrayals of events, issues, and social groups in news and entertainment.

    This area explores how viewers select and respond to media content, and how portrayals affect viewers’ perceptions of social reality. Current research projects include studies of viewers’ selection of entertainment, and studies examining news portrayals of crime and how such portrayals activate stereotypes.

  3. Advertising strategies and effectiveness.

    Research in this area focuses on audience responses to political and product advertisements, and how strategies and message factors might lead to changes in cognitions and attitudes. Recent studies have investigated effects of such varied factors as frequency and ad position on cognitive effectiveness of Web advertisements.

Media Effects Research Laboratory

The Media Effects Research Laboratory in the College houses state-of-the-art equipment for research in media effects and related social science disciplines. This lab allows for participant interaction with new technologies and with mediated audio-visual content, and provides facilities and equipment to collect psycho-physiological measures.

Associated Faculty