This study examines how addicted smokers attend visually to smoking-related public service announcements (PSAs) in adults smokers. Smokers' onscreen visual fixation is an indicator of cognitive resources allocated to visual attention. Characteristic of individuals with addictive tendencies, smokers are expected to be appetitively activated by images of their addiction-specifically smoking cues. At the same time, these cues are embedded in messages that associate avoidance responses with these appetitive cues, potentially inducing avoidance of PSA processing. Findings suggest that segments of PSAs that contain smoking cues are processed similarly to segments that contain complex stimuli (operationalized in this case as high in information introduced) and that visual attention is aligned with smoking cues on the screen.
The authors empirically investigated the relative ordering of knowledge, attitudes, and practices in behavior change models and its relation to communicating health-related information. Considerable research has been conducted in the area of behavior change to identify and measure the presence of knowledge, attitudinal, and practice levels for many behaviors. The literature is reviewed. The authors' investigation consisted of interviewing 1680 men and women in Lima, Cusco, Huaraz, Puno, and Chimbote--5 large Peruvian cities--in 3 urban probability household surveys conducted in August 1994, January 1995, and January 1996. Six possible knowledge, attitude, and practice permutations are developed with regard to contraception in Peru. People may use contraceptive methods before they become fully knowledgeable about their chosen methods. In so doing, these users may become misinformed about contraceptive practice and become dissatisfied contraceptive users who discontinue contraceptive use. Media campaigns designed to inform the public can help produce a more satisfied and sustainable contraceptive user base. The informed choice approach can be the basis for effective communication strategies.
Stanford University's Five-City Multifactor Risk Reduction Project (FCP) was a 14-year trial of community-wide cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction through integrated programs of community organization and mass media health promotion. The project was launched in 1978 in 5 central California cities, including Monterey, Salinas, Modesto, and San Luis Obispo. TV public service announcements (PSAs), TV shows, booklets, printed tip sheets with brief health suggestions on 7 topics, and newspaper coverage were the types of mass media approaches used in the FCP. These strategies are compared with regard to reach, specificity, and impact for a 5-year study period from 1979/80. Reach is measured as the number of messages intervention community residents remembered, specificity was assessed by examining whether the campaign differentially reached people who were already knowledgeable and practicing cardiovascular disease risk reduction, and impact is defined as the amount of knowledge gained during the course of the campaign. Reach was highest for tip sheets, while specificity was highest for booklets followed by TV programs. Newspaper messages had the most impact, followed by booklets and TV PSAs, tip sheets, and TV programs. Communication channels varied according to reach, specificity, and impact, with each criterion being distinct. No channel was optimal for all 3 of the outcome measures.
This study develops and demonstrates a theoretical framework and corresponding methodology to link variables at the culture level to the individual level and, then, to specific outcome variables. The authors argue that in order to advance theory about culture's influence on communication, researchers must begin to examine how culture affects individual level (psychological) processes and, subsequently, how these processes affect communication. The image of self, referred to as self-construal, is an ideal candidate to perform the role of linking culture to behavior. The self is shaped by cultural forces and affects many, if not all, communication behaviors. The proposed strategy is applied in the test of a path-analytic model linking cultural collectivism with interdependent self-construals and, ultimately, high-context communication. The discussion includes implications for theory development and possible applications to further research.
This paper describes an individual-differences model of information exposure which reflects the needs for novelty and sensation likely inherited as survival behaviors from humankind's ancient past. The model grew out of an earlier activation model developed to explain exposure to information about public affairs. After the model's biological basis is explained, it is proposed as a theory in deductive nomological form. Propositions are then deduced from its central assumptions and a series of funded health communication studies for which it has provided guidance is described. Individual differences in the need for novelty form the basis for both identifying target audiences most likely to engage in health risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and risky sex, and guiding the design of appropriate and effective messages. Strategies developed which have been based upon the theoretical model have successfully induced attitudinal and behavioral changes in experimental studies. They have also reached at-risk audiences in field studies through televised public service announcements in appropriate television programming.
The effects of exposure to "Hum Log," India's first long-running television soap opera, on viewers' beliefs about women's status, freedom of choice, and family planning were assessed in a survey of 1170 respondents from three geographic areas. The soap opera is intended to promote prosocial beliefs about the role of women in India. A structural equation model was developed to measure the impact of awareness, involvement, and television dependency on personal beliefs. Viewers who were most exposed to "Hum Log" were more involved with its characters and more dependent on Indian television for education and entertainment, but were no more aware than their less exposed counterparts of the prosocial beliefs promoted by the soap opera. There was no significant association between viewers' involvement with the characters and their beliefs about women's equality, freedom of choice, or family planning. Moreover, viewers who were more dependent on television did not exhibit significantly stronger beliefs about these issues. There was a significant association between awareness of the prosocial messages promoted in "Hum Log" and viewer beliefs in freedom of choice and family planning. Overall, it appears that, while "Hum Log" enjoys a large and dedicated audience, its messages regarding women's equality are not being assimilated on a large scale. An analysis of the female characters in the soap opera reveals that, in many cases, the self-sufficient, career-oriented women experienced negative social consequences, while characters who pursued more traditional female roles were rewarded. Thus, while there is no evidence that "Hum Log" is making a significant contribution toward changing the way women are viewed in India, its popularity paves the way for future prosocial programming.
Increasingly, communication experiments are incorporating replication/actors for the purpose of controlling confounds and increasing generalizability. If replications are considered to be samples of possible treatment implementations, treating the replication factor as random is more appropriate than treating it as fixed. Study 1 shows that treating sampled replications as a fixed effect leads to potentially serious alpha inflation in the test of the treatment effect while treating sampled replications as random controls alpha at its nominal level. Study 2 addresses a common objection to treating replications as random: the argument that to do so will lead to unacceptably low power in statistical testing. Although experiments with very few replications are likely to be deficient in power, the results of Study 2 establish that power can be improved to an unexpected degree by a relatively modest increase in the number of replications.
This study extends priming research in political communication by focusing on an alternative political information source (i.e., Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11), affect rather than cognitions, and the existence of intra-affective ambivalence. In addition, two moderator variables are analyzed: political party identification and need for closure. There is a statically significant three-way interaction between the viewing of F 9-11, political party identification, and need for closure relative to the dependent variable of affective ambivalence toward George W. Bush. High need for closure Republicans who viewed F 9-11 exhibited pronounced levels of Bush-affective ambivalence. In addition, high need for closure Independents who viewed F 9-11 exhibited far lower ambivalence toward Bush relative to their control group peers. The findings are discussed relative to the roles performed by emerging alternative political media and the expansion of the theory of priming within the context of political communication.
Can perceived message effectiveness (PE) be considered a cause of actual effectiveness (AE)? If so, PE judgments can be used as valid indicators of the persuasiveness of messages in the preimplementation phase of campaigns. In addition, manipulating PE may be a viable persuasive strategy. But, if the reverse causal sequence obtains (AE→PE), then the strategy would be ineffective and the utility of PE in formative campaign research meaningless. Structural equation analysis of 2 cross-sectional data sets (N = 202 and 204) concerned with fear appeals favored the PE→AE hypothesis. Two additional studies (N = 140 and 237), which employed a total of 13 public service announcements (PSAs), returned the same result. A fifth experimental study (N = 119) which utilized 2 PSAs provided further indication that PE→AE but not the reverse. At least under the conditions that characterize formative research, PE may be viewed as a causal antecedent of AE.
The past two decades have witnessed marked improvment in the work produced by communication researchers. Today's research is marked by increasing reliance on theory, a greater emphasis on programmatic research, and attempts to fit methods to particular research objectives. These advances, along with a dramatic increase in the number of capable communication researchers, have combined to heighten the credibility of communication research among colleagues in related disciplines. Although many issues remain unsolved, progress is the key word in assessing events of the last 20 years.
Recent accounts of male and female personality development suggest that members of each sex differ in the orientations and capacities they bring to their experience of the political world. This article explores the relative importance of respondents’ images of the candidates and respondents’ political positions to predictions of males’ and females’ candidate preferences. It was predicted that candidate images based on interpersonal communication behavior, as opposed to respondents’ political positions, would be a more powerful predictor of females’ candidate preferences. The opposite pattern was expected to be the case for males’ candidate preferences. These predictions were supported; however, the data analysis also indicated that both candidate images and politkal positions contributed significantly to predictions of females’ candidate preferences.
Do televised presidential debates affect audiences’perception of candidates’images more than their knowledge of candidates’issue positions? Existing communication theories offer two competing predictions, with one in favor of the effects on image perception and the other in favor of the effects on issue knowledge. Empirical studies have provided mixed evidence for both predictions. This article reports results of a new study of the effects of the first presidential debate in the 1992 election. Based on a review of various methodological weaknesses in previous studies, the current study used a between-subjects design involving repeated measures of issue knowledge and image perception. Results show that the viewers learned a great deal about candidates’issue positions that were discussed in the debate, but no learning took place of issues that were not debated. The debate did not affect the viewers’perception of the two well-known candidates'personalities but did improve the perception of the least well-known candidate, Ross Perot, on several debate-related personality traits.
Structural equation modeling (SEM) is a viable multivariate tool used by communication researchers for the past quarter century. Building off Cappella (1975) as well as McPhee and Babrow (1987), this study summarizes the use of this technique from 1995–2000 in 37 communication-based academic journals. We identify and critically assess 3 unique methods for testing structural relationships via SEM in terms of the specification, estimation, and evaluation of their respective structural equation models. We provide general guidelines for the use of SEM and make recommendations concerning latent variable models, sample size, reporting parameter estimates, model fit statistics, cross-sectional data, univariate normality, cross-validation, nonrecursive modeling, and the decomposition of effects (direct, indirect, and total).
Mares (1996) presented evidence that source confusions play a role in the cultivation effect. In doing so, she suggested that these findings are at odds with assertions made by Shrum and O'Guinn (1993) concerning the lack of attention that people pay to source characteristics when constructing their social reality judgments. The purpose of this comment is to clarify some of the findings of Mares (1996) that have implications for the heuristic model of cultivation effects (Shrum, 1995) and to show that Mares's findings are, in fact, fully compatible with, and can be integrated into, the heuristic processing model. Implications of Mares's findings for refining and extending Ms model are also discussed.
This study investigated patterned distribution of communication across time in an effort to assess temporal development in T-groups through the use of verbal interaction measures. Two groups conducted with a “meaning-attribution” facilitation style had their verbal interaction recorded as contiguous units of communication. Factor analysis of interaction categories produced nine dimensions labeled: Antagonistic, Assertive-Supportive, Dominant Assertive, Aggressive-Assertive, Assertive, Reactions to Group Laughter, Task-Determining Activity, Reactions to Group Tension, and Supportive-ness. Analysis of the cell means indicated three separate stages of group life could be extrapolated from the sequential distribution of interaction: Boundary-seeking, Ambivalence, and Actualization.
The study assessed the extent to which a speaker's visible body movements can improve verbal comprehension for listeners. Subjects responded to multiple-choice items designed to test their comprehension of 12 videotaped spoken utterances which had been obtained by asking speakers to describe either objects in motion (e.g., a tennis ball, a car, spraying water) or abstract concepts. The 60 subjects each responded to stimuli in one of three presentation conditions (audiovisual, audiovisual without lip and facial cues, and audio-alone) over four signal-to-noise ratios. The results indicated that: (1) visual cues can at times significantly improve comprehension scores, even with lip and facial cues not present; (2) visual cues are increasingly useful as noise is introduced; (3) visual cues assist the comprehension of certain grammatical types of verbal segments regardless of semantic content expressed in those type segments.
This article analyzes two telephone calls from citizens to a 911 center in a large city in the Western United States in which call-takers became angry and attacked the face of the callers. After reviewing past theoretical conceptualizations of face and face attack, the authors analyze the calls using a facework lens. Through a close study of the discourse, the authors show the subtle and blatant ways in which vocal delivery, substance and type of selected speech acts, second pair parts, and selected stance indicators do face attack. Then, they consider how context may contribute to the call-takers' usage of these problematic conversational strategies. The article concludes by assessing how notions of face and face attack would be reconceptualized if future research adopted the grounded practical theory frame that informs this 911 case study.
This study investigated role-taking and referential communication abilities in children. The effects of age, sex, and IQ on both abilities were tested, and the effect of age of receiver on referential communication ability was also examined. Multiple regression analyses were utilized to determine how well the independent variables predict the measures of role-taking and referential communication. Finally, the relationship between role-taking and referential communication was assessed. The participants were 32 first-graders and 32 third-graders. At each grade level, there were equal numbers of boys and girls. Age was found to affect performance on role-taking and communication tasks. Both sex of the child and IQ were found to affect referential communication performance. The relationship between role-taking and referential communication abilities was low. Interpretation of significant results is given, and testing procedures are discussed.
Conversations with visibly disabled strangers entail unequivocally higher uncertainty and relatively more negative predicted outcome values compared to conversations with able-bodied strangers. Contrasting derivations from uncertainty reduction and predicted outcome value theories were tested by comparing observations associated with respondents’ separate conversations with able-bodied and visibly disabled partners. Four hypotheses were cast to favor predicted outcome value interpretations with respect to information seeking, three global features of the respondent's awareness of the partner's behavior, and the association of information seeking with nonverbal affiliative expressiveness and amount of verbal communication. Statistically significant differences in information seeking and awareness of the partner's behavior favored the predicted outcome value interpretation. Implications for predicted outcome value theory and interaction with visibly disabled conversational partners are discussed.
In the context of Aboriginal–Anglo Australian relations, we tested the effect of framing (multiculturalism versus separatism) and majority group members' social values (universalism) on the persuasiveness of Aboriginal group rhetoric, majority collective guilt, attitudes toward compensation, and reparations for Aboriginals. As predicted, Anglo Australians who are low on universalism report more collective guilt when presented with a multiculturalist than a separatist Aboriginal frame, whereas those high on universalism report high levels of guilt independent of frame. The same pattern was predicted and found for the persuasiveness of the rhetoric and attitudes toward compensation. Our data suggest that (a) for individuals low in universalism, framing produces attitudes consonant with compensation because it produces collective guilt and (b) the reason that universalists are more in favor of compensation and reparation is because of high collective guilt. We discuss the strategic use of language to create power through the manipulation of collective guilt in political contexts.
The impact of normative and informational influence was examined with respect to research on hidden profiles, which occur when the members of a group individually hold information favoring a low-quality decision but collectively have the information necessary to make a high-quality decision. Participants were presented with information relevant to a decision and a transcript of a group discussing that decision. The information was either a complete or an incomplete set that instantiated a hidden profile. The transcripts contained the complete set of information but varied the initial preferences of group members and the direction of their noninformational comments. Although extant research indicates that informational pressure should outweigh normative pressure in this context, this study found that when normative and informational influence are in conflict, participants' decisions conformed to normative pressures. The presence of norms and information also had consequences for participants' perceptions of task difficulty, task attractiveness, and decision quality.
In three experiments with difficult stimuli, it was found that the addition of a representative picture to a news item improves recall of that item. Second, as predicted by dual-coding theory (DCT), concrete news items were recalled better than abstract news items (Experiments 2 and 3). Furthermore, concrete news items benefited more from the addition of a news picture than did abstract news items (Experiment 3). In Experiment 4, it was found that news concreteness was strongly correlated with various picture attributes, including visual-verbal overlap, which might in part explain the differential gain in recall from the addition of pictures to concrete and abstract news. The results are explained using Paivio's DCT.
A model of program choice focusing on the decision-making process is developed and applied to cable television viewing. The process concepts of orienting search (becoming aware of alternatives to watch) and revaluation (reconsidering a choice) are found to be positively correlated with channel familiarity (awarensss of available cable channels) and channel repertoire (use of cable channels). Viewers appear to have their own routine means of choosing what to watch that vary according to personality characteristics and demographics. Young, male adults with a high need for stimulation engage in more active choice processes.
This paper discusses several decisions that researchers must make in their application of factor analysis to data related to communication phenomena. Several suggestions are provided to aid researchers in reaching appropriate decisions.
A growing body of research suggests that peer-related communication skills and experiences may facilitate academic achievement, especially in the college environment. However, there is substantial evidence that men and women differ in peer-related interaction skills and patterns, suggesting that there may be gender differences in the relationship between academic performance and interaction with peers. Thus far, only one study has systematically examined this gender difference: that of Nezlek, Wheeler, and Rets. In their 1990 work, they reported data that they interpreted as supporting the existence of gender differences in the relationship between the scholastic performance of college students and aspects of their social interactions. The current article presents a reanalysis of their data, snowing that there are no gender differences in the relationship between academic achievement and social participation. This article also reports a study assessing gender differences in relationships between academic performance and loneliness, communication skills, and social acceptance. Participants (208 college students) completed the revised UCLA loneliness scale, tasks assessing five communication skills, and sociometric measures providing multiple indices of social acceptance. Cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) were obtained from the university registrar. Although several significant associations were detected between CPA and the loneliness and communication skill measures, no gender differences in the associations were found. The results are discussed in terms of relationships between the orientations that students exhibit toward peers and their studies.