Communication and Cognition Lab

About the lab

Communication and Cognition Lab

Our lab employs psychological methods to study the role of communication in decision making. We conduct research in the areas of persuasion, social influence, risk, and group communication. Typically, our research takes a Brunswikian perspective by focusing on the match between cognitive processes and the structure of information in the environment. Current studies look into consumers' energy choices, credit card decisions, and food choices. The studies have in common that they explore how the representation of information influences consumers' perceptions and choice behaviors.

Featured research (14)

Drawing from research on the halo effect and protected values, consumers’ adoption intentions and willingness to pay a premium for renewable energy were explored. Two theoretical models that involve moderated medi- ation were tested through two-instance repeated-measures linear regressions and non-parametric tests in a behavioral experiment with an Amazon MTurk sample. In line with the expected halo effect, the effects of the renewability of the energy sources on consumers’ adoption intentions and willingness to pay a premium were mediated through consumers’ perceived comfort. These mediation effects were stronger among consumers with high protected values compared to those with low protected values. The results suggest that the positive eval- uations of renewable energies by consumers with high protected values are mainly driven by those values. Conversely, consumers with low protected values would have lower adoption intentions, would be less willing to pay more, and they would not feel comfort at home when using renewable energy compared to consumers with high protected values.
Widespread efforts are being made to mitigate environmental degradation driven by human activities. From a supply chain management perspective, companies aim at improving their environmental and organizational performance along their supply chain simultaneously. Since consumers are the sources of manufacturing companies’ profitability, companies are interested in understanding the extent to which consumers care about their green practices. However, while some consumers would have a higher willingness to pay a premium (WPP) or purchase intention (PI) for environmentally differentiated products, others would not. Moreover, there is scant evidence regarding the integrated effects of intra- and inter-organizational green supply chain practices on green consumerism. Therefore, this study adopts two psychological approaches (i.e., protected values and halo effect) to describe this relationship based on two models that encompass mediation and moderation effects. Data were collected from 351 Colombian university students through a behavioral experiment with three product-based conditions, and the hypotheses were tested using two-instance repeated-measures linear regressions and non-parametric tests. The results indicate that perceived product performance mediates the effect of green supply chain practices on consumers’ WPP and PI (halo effect). Additionally, consumers’ moral orientation toward the environment (protected values) moderates the effects of green supply chain practices on consumers’ WPP, PI and perceived product performance. The study found that people who hold protected values evaluate products better not just for its green attributes, but because of their increased perception of the products’ performance. The contributions are centered on the role of psychological approaches in green supply chain studies to understand consumers’ preferences.
Research on metaphors has shown that individuals form associations between the verticality, brightness, and distance of stimuli and their valence. Building on the literature on conceptual metaphor theory, the pitch-valence hypothesis predicts an association between the pitch of spoken words and their valence. A study was conducted recording participants’ accuracy and response latencies in identifying positive and negative words that were spoken in high and low pitches to see whether pitch affects the accuracy and speed when choosing words that systematically vary in their semantic valence. The results supported the pitch-valence hypothesis by revealing systematic differences in performance. The observed effects were mainly due to participants’ accuracies when words were presented in a high pitch.
A proposal in favor of a meta-theoretical approach to the study of group communication is advanced, that has not received much attention in group communication scholarship: The study of the bounded rationality of groups and teams. The notion of bounded rationality comes with an invitation to analyze group communication from the vantage point of an adaptation process that involves the communication processes that are employed by groups along with characteristics of the environments in which groups are situated. The general concept of bounded rationality is introduced and some promises that this meta-theoretical lens offers to group communication scholarship are described. Three methodological signature characteristics are highlighted: The development and test of process models, the analysis and description of the ecological and social environments of groups, and the development of representative designs in the study of groups.
The use of cellphones in conversations is ubiquitous. Although the overarching view of the social effects of cellphones in conversations appears to be negative, some research has also reported positive outcomes. The Cellphone Relevance Hypothesis predicts that effects of cellphone use on conversational satisfaction depend on the function of cellphones within a conversation. When a conversation partner integrates cellphone use into the conversation (integral use), conversational satisfaction is predicted to be higher than when the cellphone is used for a purpose unrelated to the conversation (incidental use). Two vignette studies provide support for the Cellphone Relevance Hypothesis and specify boundary conditions of the cellphone effect based on the involvement of respondents.

Lab head

Torsten Reimer
  • Brian Lamb School of Communication

Members (4)

Hayden Barber
  • South Dakota State University
Christopher Roland
  • University of Central Arkansas
Devika Banerji
  • Purdue University
Jeonghyun Oh
Jeonghyun Oh
  • Not confirmed yet
Kirstin Dolick
Kirstin Dolick
  • Not confirmed yet