Markus Appel

Markus Appel
University of Wuerzburg | JMU · Institute for Human-Computer-Media

Dr. phil.

About

120
Publications
141,938
Reads
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3,323
Citations
Introduction
I am a psychologist and professor of Media Communication at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, Institute for Human-Computer-Media. I do research on the psychology of communication and media with an emphasis on stories and narrative processes, social media and the Internet, social robots, and the self and identity.
Additional affiliations
April 2017 - present
University of Wuerzburg
Position
  • Professor (Full)
October 2013 - March 2017
Universität Koblenz-Landau
Position
  • Professor (Full)
May 2005 - September 2013
Johannes Kepler University Linz
Position
  • Researcher, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor

Publications

Publications (120)
Article
Full-text available
Narrative experiences are characterized by dynamic emotional responses. Research has begun to investigate implications of emotional shifts for narrative processing, but the continuous measurement of emotion poses a challenge. This study examines how valence shifts captured using real-time response (RTR) measurement during two films relate to transp...
Article
Full-text available
The widespread distribution of mis- and disinformation highlights the need to understand why individuals fall for fake news. Surprisingly, individuals’ very understanding of knowledge and how it is created (epistemic beliefs) has received little attention in this context. We present a model focusing on the role of post-truth epistemic beliefs, thei...
Article
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The representation of women in cultural products is a main concern to the social sciences and humanities and a topic that many citizens care about. We analyzed female characters in the 30 worldwide highest grossing movies per year, for the last 40 years, amounting to 1200 movies. Our study was based on the Bechdel-Wallace test (BWT, Bechdel test):...
Article
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Recent theory on narrative processes suggests that changes in recipients’ emotional responses (emotional shifts) are characteristic of immersed story processing and precursors of narrative impact. In two experiments and a pilot study, a novel self-probed emotional retrospection task was used to measure emotional shifts. We examined the link between...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: High body mass and obesity are frequently linked to the use of sedentary media, like television (TV) or non-active video games. Empirical evidence regarding video gaming, however, has been mixed, and theoretical considerations explaining a relationship between general screen time and body mass may not generalize to non-active video gami...
Article
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The personalization of digital environments is becoming ubiquitous due to the rise of AI-based algorithms and recommender systems. Arguably, this technological development has far-reaching consequences for individuals and societies alike. In this article, we propose a psychological model of the effects of personalization in digital environments, wh...
Article
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Despite the popularity of narrative persuasion, little is known about the processes underlying resistance to stories. Affective resistance in terms of perceived inauthenticity and corniness is introduced. We show that-akin to counterarguing in non-narrative persuasion-stories may elicit affective resistance, leading to less story impact. Two pre-re...
Article
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When interacting with sophisticated digital technologies, people often fall back on the same interaction scripts they apply to the communication with other humans-especially if the technology in question provides strong anthropomorphic cues (e.g., a human-like embodiment). Accordingly, research indicates that observers tend to interpret the body la...
Article
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly used to accomplish complex tasks, including the creation of artworks and entertainment products. Our focus here is on user responses to AI systems as authors of fictional stories. Across two experiments we examined how the information that a story was written by AI influences narrative transportation and...
Article
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Deepfake technology, allowing manipulations of audiovisual content by means of artificial intelligence, is on the rise. This has sparked concerns about a weaponization of manipulated videos for malicious ends. A theory on deepfake detection is presented and three pre-registered studies examined the detection of deepfakes in the political realm (fea...
Article
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Objective: Global challenges such as climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic have drawn public attention to conspiracy theories and citizens' non-compliance to science-based behavioral guidelines. We focus on individuals' worldviews about how one can and should construct reality (epistemic beliefs) to explain the endorsement of conspiracy theories...
Article
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In the field of human-robot interaction, the well-known uncanny valley hypothesis proposes a curvilinear relationship between a robot’s degree of human likeness and the observers’ responses to the robot. While low to medium human likeness should be associated with increased positive responses, a shift to negative responses is expected for highly an...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the field of human-robot interaction, the well-known uncanny valley hypothesis proposes a curvilinear relationship between a robot’s degree of human likeness and the observers’ responses to the robot. While low to medium human likeness should be associated with increasingly positive responses, a shift to negative responses is expected for highly...
Chapter
This chapter explores the effects of literariness on readers’ psychological and social understandings within and beyond literary texts. Literariness is introduced as (a) a function of specific textual features that create linguistic foregrounding and (b) the positioning of a text as literary through para-textual signifiers (such as non-fiction and...
Article
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The successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic depends on individuals accepting the current state of research and adhering to the preventive behaviors that follow from it. However, the processing of scientific results is not always rational, but influenced by prior attitudes as well as the ability to understand statistical data. Against this ba...
Article
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Scholars have increasingly explored the ways that media content can touch, move, and inspire audiences, leading to numerous beneficial outcomes including increased feelings of connectedness to and heightened motivations for doing good for others. Although this line of inquiry is relatively new, sufficient evidence and patterns of results have emerg...
Article
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Human-like robots and other systems with artificial intelligence are increasingly capable of recognizing and interpreting the mental processes of their human users. The present research examines how people evaluate these seemingly mind-reading machines based on the well-established distinction of human mind into agency (i.e., thoughts and plans) an...
Article
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Humanoid robots (i.e., robots with a human-like body) are projected to be mass marketed in the future in several fields of application. Today, however, user evaluations of humanoid robots are often based on mediated depictions rather than actual observations or interactions with a robot, which holds true not least for scientific user studies. Peopl...
Article
The harassment of researchers working in the social sciences—not rarely an organized effort targeting members of marginalized groups—is most alarming. Its implications reach from severe personal consequences to the risk of scientific self-censorship. We invite readers to engage in a much-needed discourse about this worrisome phenomenon.
Article
Full-text available
We connected theory and research on narrative persuasion to the literature on social robots and examined the effects of a robotic storyteller’s facial expressions. The congruency between the emotional arc of a story and the facial expressions of the robot was of particular interest. In a lab experiment, participants were confronted with a storytell...
Article
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Objectives: Research has shown that cultural identity and psychological well-being are associated. We suggest that negative stereotypes challenge the psychological well-being of people with a migrant background. This research focused on the dynamics of adolescents’ ethnic/racial identity (ERI), national identity, stereotype vulnerability, and psych...
Article
Full-text available
The potential of sexist jokes in comedy to harm women has been a matter of intense public debate. Psychological research on sexist comedy is scarce and inconclusive. Theory on social identity threat suggests that communicating devaluation and negative group stereotypes impairs the performance of members of a targeted group: Do women exposed to sexi...
Article
Full-text available
A growing number of studies have examined the psychological corollaries of using Social Networking Sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (often called social media). The interdisciplinary research area and conflicting evidence from primary studies complicate the assessment of current scholarly knowledge in this field of high public at...
Article
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Digital technologies are advancing rapidly, growing to be more human-like and intelligent by the day. However, research shows that a machine's resemblance to humans can reach a critical level, which makes it seem uncanny to observers. While scholars have discussed this effect in terms of both human-like appearances and mental abilities, a potential...
Article
Full-text available
Playing computer and video games is a popular pastime activity for many adolescents worldwide. However, the increasing amount of time spent on these games each day raised fears that this comes at the expense of school and, over the long run, impairs academic achievement. Extending prior research, the present study on a sample of N = 3,554 German ad...
Chapter
Bilder sind nie perfekte Abbildungen der Wirklichkeit. Jedes Foto und jedes Video stellt aufgrund natürlicher und technischer Restriktionen bereits einen vom Schaffenden gewählten Ausschnitt einer Gesamtszenerie dar und das Herstellen von Bildern selbst ändert oft das, was abgebildet werden soll (Kameraaufnahme: „Bitte lächeln“). Dennoch, Bilder un...
Chapter
„Nein, ihr seid nicht füreinander bestimmt – und das ist gut so!“, so betitelt Bento, ein eigenständiges Web-Angebot des Spiegel, auf seiner Webseite einen Artikel. Der Beitrag handelt darüber, dass es nicht den oder die Richtige für einen gibt, der perfekt zu einem passt, sondern es ist wichtig, an der Beziehung zu arbeiten. Der Artikel scheint si...
Chapter
Das am meisten verbreitete Social-Media-Posting über Angela Merkel war eine Falschmeldung.
Chapter
Die beschriebene Facebook-Unterhaltung (Abb. 5.1) ist ein gutes Beispiel für ein Phänomen, das sich immer weiter in sozialen Netzwerken auszubreiten scheint: Trolling. Eine Nutzerin oder ein Nutzer postet einen Status bezüglich eines beliebigen Themas, eine andere oder ein anderer geht mit zynischen Kommentaren darauf ein, nutzt jeden Fehler aus un...
Chapter
Ein einsamer alter Herr, alleine am Weihnachtstisch, der seinen Tod inszeniert, um seine Familie am Weihnachtstag zu versammeln. Das ist die Geschichte des #heimkommen-YouTube-Clips, veröffentlicht von dem Handelsriesen EDEKA in der Vorweihnachtszeit 2015 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6-0kYhqoRo; Abb. 15.1). Der Kurzfilm bewegt, polarisiert und rückt z...
Chapter
Im Eingangskapitel wurde die Vision einer Welt vorgestellt, in der statt Wahrheit und Wahrhaftigkeit nunmehr Bullshit, Lügen und Humbug die öffentliche Diskussion bestimmen. Eine solche Entwicklung gefährdet das Leben und Zusammenleben von Individuen und Gesellschaften. Negative Auswirkungen postfaktischer Kommunikation wurden in den Kapiteln genan...
Chapter
„Hinter dem Anschlag auf das World Trade Center – 9/11 – steckt der israelische Geheimdienst Mossad und die amerikanische Regierung wusste Bescheid.“
Chapter
Stellen Sie sich eine Welt vor, in der das Wissen von Expertinnen und Experten keine Rolle spielt. Jede und jeder sucht sich die Wahrheiten aus, die am besten zu den eigenen Positionen und Zielen passen. In dieser Welt stehen vor allem Informationen zur Verfügung, die Emotionalisierung versprechen, Prominente sollten darin vorkommen, möglichst nega...
Chapter
„Wichtig war uns, die Wahrheit der Geschichte so fesselnd wie möglich rüberzubringen.“
Chapter
Gerüchte begegnen uns in Gesprächen am Arbeitsplatz, in der Schule oder auf sozialen Netzwerkseiten wie Facebook. Gerade solche soziale Medien bieten offenbar einen guten Nährboden für die Verbreitung von Gerüchten. Seit 2015 haben Gerüchte über Flüchtlinge unrühmliche Bekanntheit erlangt.
Chapter
Ende 2016 entschied die Redaktion der 20 Uhr-Tagesschau in der ARD, zunächst nicht über den „Fall Maria“ zu berichten – eine Studentin war in Freiburg vergewaltigt und ermordet worden und ein als unbegleiteter minderjähriger Flüchtling registrierter Mann war dringend tatverdächtig und saß in U-Haft. Klar ist: Journalistinnen und Journalisten können...
Book
In diesem Buch werden in 18 Kapiteln Phänomene der Kommunikation im digitalen Zeitalter vorgestellt und die psychologischen Hintergründe anhand von wissenschaftlichen Theorien und Analysen erörtert. Viele Menschen sind verunsichert durch eine Medienwelt, die unausgewogen erscheint (Fake News, "Lügenpresse"), in der man durch Clickbait manipuliert w...
Article
Full-text available
Listening to, reading, or watching a story is often a highly emotional experience. The current experiment was designed to gain insight into the role of emotions as part of the persuasive influence of stories. Our focus was on emotions that correspond to a storyline (event-congruent emotions). A short movie was presented that depicts the struggles o...
Article
Full-text available
The uncanny valley hypothesis suggests that a high (but not perfect) human likeness of robots is associated with feelings of eeriness. We distinguished between experience and agency as psychological representations of human likeness. In four online experiments, vignettes about a new generation of robots were presented. The results indicate that a r...
Article
Full-text available
Theory suggests that information encountered prior to a story affects the actual experience of the story due to elicited expectations. In two experiments (N = 100; N = 167) short movies that were introduced with a positive review yielded higher transportation scores than the same movies introduced with a more negative (or neutral) review. Mediation...
Article
Full-text available
Since the advent of social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook and Twitter (often called social media), the link between shyness and using these platforms has received substantial scholarly attention. We assumed that the diverging findings could be explained by the patterns of use examined in the primary studies. A three-level, random effects...
Article
Full-text available
Smartphone use while walking (i.e., being a smartphone zombie) has become a prevalent phenomenon in many cities worldwide. Previous research shows that many pedestrians choose to interact with their phones as they walk around in cities, despite being aware that their behavior might be dangerous. To investigate potential reasons for the prevalence o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Theory suggests that information encountered prior to a story affects the actual experience of the story due to elicited expectations. In two experiments (N = 100; N = 167) short movies that were introduced with a positive review yielded higher transportation scores than the same movies introduced with a more negative (or neutral) review. Mediation...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments examined the influence of stories on recipients' self-perceptions. Extending prior theory and research, our focus was on assimilation effects (i.e., changes in self-perception in line with a protagonist's traits) as well as on contrast effects (i.e., changes in self-perception in contrast to a protagonist's traits). In Experiment 1...
Article
Full-text available
Social robots are becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday life and sex robots are a sub-category of especially high public interest and controversy. Starting from the concept of the otaku, a term from Japanese youth culture that describes secluded persons with a high affinity for fictional manga characters, we examine individual differences beh...
Article
Full-text available
Many societies are on the brink of a robotic era. In the near future, various autonomous computer systems are expected to be part of many people’s daily lives. Because attitudes influence the adoption of new technologies, we studied the attitudes towards robots in the European Union between 2012 and 2017. Using representative samples from 27 countr...
Preprint
Many societies are on the brink of a robotic era. In the near future, various autonomous computer systems are expected to be part of many people’s daily lives. Because attitudes influence the adoption of new technologies, we studied the attitudes towards robots in the European Union between 2012 and 2017. Using representative samples from 27 countr...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have shown that narratives can influence readers’ beliefs about themselves. In the present study, our goal was to investigate whether stories portraying a strong protagonist can positively influence recipients’ beliefs of being in control of events in their own lives (self-related control beliefs). Experiment 1 showed that narrative...
Article
Full-text available
We propose that the dark triad of personality predicts how recipients respond to eudaimonic narratives (stories dealing with purpose in life, the human condition, and human virtue). Matched eudaimonic or non-eudaimonic videos were presented via random assignment. The more individuals lack empathy and organize their world around self-promotion – ref...
Article
Full-text available
The popularity of social networking sites (SNSs) among adolescents and young adults has raised concerns that the intensity of using these platforms might be associated with lower academic achievement. The empirical findings on this issue, however, are anything but conclusive. Therefore, we present four random-effects meta-analyses including 59 inde...
Article
Full-text available
(1) Background. Social networking sites such as Facebook provide individuals with opportunities to express and gather information relevant to their self-concept. Previous theoretical work yielded contrasting assumptions about a potential link between individuals’ Internet use and their self-concept clarity, that is, individuals’ perception of a cle...
Preprint
Full-text available
Playing computer and video games is a popular pastime activity for many adolescents worldwide. However, the increasing amount of time spent on these games each day raised fears that this comes at the expense of school and, over the long run, impairs academic achievement. Extending prior research, the present study on a sample of N = 3,554 German ad...
Article
Interest in the meaningful sides of media entertainment has blossomed over the last decade, with numerous scholars examining how certain media content can enhance social good and well-being. Because social scientific work in this area is relatively new and is rapidly evolving, numerous conceptualizations of meaningful media experiences have been in...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The increasing popularity of social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter has given rise to speculations that the intensity of using these platforms is associated with narcissistic tendencies. However, recent research on this issue has been all but conclusive. Method: We present a three-level, random-effects meta-analysi...
Article
Full-text available
This experiment, using excerpts from three Hollywood films, indicates that eudaimonic (meaningful) narratives increase willingness to accept delayed rewards (i.e., reduce delay discounting) and acceptance of death, mediated by the effect of eudaimonic narratives on perceived closeness to future self. Our findings provide support for the argument, a...
Article
Full-text available
e-Learning systems increasingly support learning management and self-organized learning processes. Since the latter have been studied in the field of progressive education extensively, it is worthwhile to consider them for developing digital learning environments to support self-regulated learning processes. In this paper we aim at transforming one...
Article
Full-text available
Research has shown that stereotype threat can inhibit immigrant students to unlock their full potential. Individual differences in cultural identity could be associated with immigrants’ stereotype vulnerability. This longitudinal study (n = 516) investigates the influence of recurring experiences of stereotype threat at school, and how adolescent i...
Article
Full-text available
Stories are considered to be a potent means to change health-related attitudes, beliefs, and behavior due to recipients' transportation into the narrative world. Little emphasis, however, has been given to the link between transportation and process variables that are pertinent to health behavior. Connecting narrative persuasion to the Health Actio...
Article
Full-text available
Stereotype threat theory suggests that negative stereotypes and devaluing content in the media impair the cognitive and educational achievement of members of the negatively portrayed groups (e.g., Latino Americans, women), whereas non-stereotyped recipients are not affected or even show reversed effects (stereotype lift). A meta-analysis of 33 expe...
Article
Full-text available
The uncanny valley hypothesis suggests that robots that closely resemble humans elicit feelings of eeriness. We focused on individual differences in the uncanny valley experience, which have been largely neglected to date. Using a mixed effects modelling approach, we tested whether individual differences in the need for structure predict uncanny va...
Article
Full-text available
Playing commercial computer games supposedly trains cognitive abilities. The present study investigated linear and nonlinear associations between the time spent on computer and video games each day and cognitive abilities in a representative sample of N = 12,459 German adolescents (51% girls). Piecewise polynomial regression analyses revealed that...
Article
Full-text available
Stories are a powerful means to change people’s attitudes and beliefs. The aim of the current work was to shed light on the role of argument strength (argument quality) in narrative persuasion. The present study examined the influence of strong versus weak arguments on attitudes in a low or high narrative context. Moreover, baseline attitudes, inte...
Chapter
Neue Medien stellen für Gesellschaften eine Herausforderung dar. Bereits mit der zunehmenden Verbreitung schriftsprachlicher Fähigkeiten im 18. Jahrhundert und der damit einhergehenden „Lesesucht“-Debatte mehrten sich kritische Stimmen, die vor einem übermäßigen Konsum von Buchpublikationen warnten (z. B. Beyer 1795). Gleiches galt in der zweiten H...
Article
Full-text available
Connecting philosophical and psychological theories on meaning to theories and findings on the real-world influence of fictional stories, the authors argue that science fiction provides meaning for otherwise disconcerting new technologies. An experiment with two points of measurement was conducted. After watching a full-length movie with a humanoid...
Article
Full-text available
Opinion leadership describes an individual’s tendency to informally influence others’ attitudes and overt behaviors. In contrast to contemporary views of opinion leadership as a highly domain-specific trait, this paper introduces a multi-faceted personality trait, generalized opinion leadership (GOL) that characterizes exceptionally influential ind...