Robert F. Potter

Robert F. Potter
Indiana University Bloomington | IUB · Communication Science, The Media School

Ph.D

About

63
Publications
34,220
Reads
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2,742
Citations
Introduction
My research explores the cognitive processing of media messages--with a particular focus on the impact of audio features on cognition and emotional response. I often use psychophysiological measures--heart rate, skin conductance, facial EMG, and EEG--as a way to quantify these responses. Here you see two graduate students in the Institute for Communication Research monitor psychophysiological measures while a study participant watches a TV message in the next room.
Additional affiliations
July 1998 - May 2003
University of Alabama
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (63)
Poster
This study examines whether self-reported ratings of popular music collected after a 40-minute listening session predict physiological responses during prior exposure.
Presentation
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An experiment looking at the psychological effects of using mobile devices with in a posture of spinal flexion compared to a straight neutral posture.
Article
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Objective Persons with aphasia (PWA) face additional barriers to proper healthcare due to inadequate patient education by health professionals unequipped to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The current study examines a digital application that evokes and sustains health information processing through AAC specifically aimed at i...
Article
Audiences are hostile to advertising on the Internet, so ad-supported video streaming services have experimented with new interactive formats to make viewers more receptive to advertising. This lab study investigated explanations for the effectiveness of one of these new formats, advertisement choice, and potential variations of this format. The re...
Article
Drawing upon the theoretical framework of social identity theory and literature on physical intimacy, consumer neuroscience, and social cognitive and affective neuroscience, responses to images featuring same-gender and other-gender pairs are explored through examination of self-reported attitudes and neural activity associated with attention, memo...
Chapter
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Peripheral nervous system (PNS) measures provide valuable data that can help scientists gain unique insight into processes that underlie individuals’ experiences with communication episodes. Basic knowledge of PNS measures helps scientists not only begin to consider using these measures but also critically evaluate relevant research. This chapter i...
Chapter
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This chapter overviews how media psychophysiology and neuroscience offer researchers a valuable framework for investigating media processes and effects. We avoid a detailed technical discussion of psychophysiology and neuroscience in favor of a more conceptual overview of how the framework presented here can be applied. We also attempt to introduce...
Article
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Research question: While emotional responses to sporting events could have a residual effect on the processing of in-stadium signage that appears to the television audience, limited research has focused on the possible moderating role of emotions in such advertising processing. Thus, this manuscript reports on two studies that employed the limited...
Article
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Th e present study investigated the effect of emotions derived from the unique nature of spectator sport (e.g., uncertainty about outcomes) on sport fans' responses to advertisements presented in a sport broadcasting context. In order to test the study's hypotheses, a repeated measures design (i.e., program-induced valence [2] × program-induced aro...
Article
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Previous research has shown that structural features such as voice changes, jingle onsets, and production effects in a radio broadcast elicit cardiac orienting responses. In fact, the voice change has been shown to reliably elicit orienting without habituation after several repetitions. However, repeated onsets of two other auditory structural feat...
Article
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This research examined how implicit attitudes are associated with cognitive processing and self-reported evaluation of advertisements featuring same-sex couples. Hypotheses were posited using the theoretical framework of social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner 1986) and perspectives on implicit attitudes. In Study 1, participants watched and eval...
Article
This research examined how implicit attitudes are associated with cognitive processing and self- reported evaluation of advertisements featuring same-sex couples. Hypotheses were posited using the theoretical framework of Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner 1986) and perspectives on implicit attitudes. In Study 1 participants watched and eval...
Article
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The study examined how individual words occurring in mediated messages impact listeners’ emotional and cognitive responses. Scripts from actual radio advertisements were altered by replacing original words with target words that varied in valence—either positive, negative, or neutral. The scripts were then reproduced by non-professional speakers. R...
Article
We build on prior theory and research on electronic brainstorming to examine how achievement priming influences individual cognition leading to changes in individual behavior and ultimately team performance. We conducted a repeated measures experiment using electroencephalography with 53 subjects performing two brainstorming tasks. We found that pr...
Chapter
An important foundation in our life in academia is our expertise. In most cases we think of our research program as a single “line” of research. Interestingly, however, a research program does not have to be constrained to a single paradigm, theory, or a singular line of research. A research program, does, however, benefit from connections that all...
Chapter
Two measures are used in combination to provide a human-centered measure of audio message complexity. The first measure—Audio Content Change (Acc)—counts how many times specific auditory structural features occur during the presentation of a message. Because these structural features are known to elicit orienting responses in listeners, Acc is conc...
Article
This study explores the effect of different speaker intonation strategies in audio messages on attention, autonomic arousal, and memory. An experiment was conducted in which participants listened to 16 radio commercials produced to vary in pitch range across sentences as an independent variable. Dependent variables were self-reported effectiveness...
Chapter
The use of physiological measures has an intermittent history in the field of media effects research. However, they are increasingly being used to better understand media effects. There are several reasons for this. First, the cost of measurement hardware has decreased, while durability has increased. Second, scholars are increasingly aware of the...
Article
his study explores the effect of different speaker intonation strategies in audio messages on attention, autonomic arousal, and memory. An experiment was conducted in which participants listened to 16 radio commercials produced to vary in pitch range across sentences as an independent variable. Dependent variables were self-reported effectiveness a...
Article
Full-text available
Listeners exhibit orienting responses to voice changes in audio messages. However, the impact of pitch similarity between voices on the nature of the OR has not been explored. We conducted a 3 (Vocal Pitch) × 2 (Location of Change in Message) × 2 (Repetition) within-subjects experiment to address this question. Four non-professional announcers were...
Poster
This study tested the effects of audiovisual advertisements featuring gay and straight couples on attitudes of male and female viewers towards the commercial and the product.
Article
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This article examines individual variability in empathizing and systemizing abilities (Baron-Cohen, 200310. Baron-Cohen, S. (2003). The essential difference: Men, women and the extreme male brain. London, UK: Penguin.View all references, 200911. Baron-Cohen, S. (2009). Autism: The empathizing & systemizing (E–S) theory. Annals of the New York Acade...
Article
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Increased interaction with characters in games and online necessitates a better understanding of how different characteristics of these agents impact media users. This paper investigates a possible neurological underpinning for a common research finding; namely, that animated characters designed to be comparatively more human, more real, and more s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study explores the effect of different intonation strategies applied to audio commercials on the cognitive processing of the listener. A within-subjects experiment was conducted in which participants listened to 16 radio ads that had been created with different models of intonation designed to vary the announcer’s pitch range. Dependent variab...
Article
Full-text available
Research has used the cardiac orienting response (OR) to show that structural changes in the auditory environment cause people to briefly but automatically pay attention to messages such as radio broadcasts, podcasts, and web streaming. The voice change—an example of an auditory structural feature—elicits orienting across multiple repetitions. This...
Article
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The goal of this paper is to examine the relative validity of a set of psychophysiological measures as psychological correlates of attention and arousal when watching moving audio/visual messages. To do this, participants watched film clips selected to vary on three media variables known to influence both attention and arousal: structural pacing (s...
Article
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Virtual teams are increasingly common in today's organizations, yet they often make poor decisions. Teams that interact using text-based collaboration technology typically exchange more information than when they perform the same task face-to-face, but past results suggest that team members are more likely to ignore information they receive from ot...
Article
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This study assessed relationships among individual differences in trait motivational reactivity, executive functioning, and neurovisceral regulation of emotion and attention indexed via resting heart rate variability (rHRV). We derived predictions regarding these relationships according to neurovisceral neural network theory. Because lower rHRV has...
Article
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Previous content analyses show that televised sports programming attributes athletic success achieved by Black athletes to athleticism whereas success for White athletes is attributed to hard work and intelligence. This research explores whether the amount of such programming a person views affects attitudes held about Black and White athletes. Usi...
Article
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Branded apps represent a new possibility for enhancing brand image and service satisfaction. Compared with other forms of advertising, branded apps are welcomed as useful. Consumers are often more engaged with such apps, and therefore their users tend to process brand-related information more deeply and for a longer time than during passive consump...
Article
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This article describes and validates a human-centric measure of audio message complexity. Messages are coded in terms of the level of cognitive resources that would be automatically elicited and required to process the message. Indicators of automatic resources elicited come from counting the orienting eliciting audio content changes in radio messa...
Article
This research volume serves as a comprehensive resource for psychophysiological research on media responses. It addresses the theoretical underpinnings, methodological techniques, and most recent research in this area. It goes beyond current volumes by placing the research techniques within a context of communication processes and effects as a fiel...
Article
An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed as fan identification scale prior to stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart r...
Article
Mobile phone applications (“apps”) have generated substantial interest among marketers, primarily because of their high level of user engagement and the positive impact this presumably has on a user's attitude toward the sponsoring brand. This study utilized a pre-test/post-test experimental design to determine whether using popular mobile phone ap...
Article
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This study investigates the relationship between individual differences in motivational system responsiveness and preferences for media genres and programming types. The Motivation Activation Measure (MAM) indexed the trait appetitive and aversive motivation system activation of 206 college-aged participants who subsequently responded to self-repor...
Article
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This paper is a part of a line of research designed to develop and validate a reliable easy-to-administer self-report indicator of individual differences in motivational activation. Previous research began the process with the development of the Motivational Activation Measure (MAM) (A. Lang, Shin, & Lee, 200510. Lang , A. , Shin , M. and Lee , S....
Article
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Recently, a major radio station ownership group pressured the advertising industry to transition the accepted unit of advertising from the 60-second commercial to 30-second spots. This transition shows signs of being successful, and it is now possible for stations to play twice as many individual ad units while keeping the overall duration of comme...
Article
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This experiment tested the ability of a limited-capacity model of cognition to predict listener reactions to changes in the structural complexity of radio promotional announcements. Past research shows that certain auditory structural features cause listeners to automatically allocate cognitive resources to message encoding. This study shows that i...
Article
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An experiment examined effects of increasing the number of advertising pods in radio. With the number of commercials kept constant, participants heard ads in 1 or 3 pods. Those exposed to the cluttered condition (i.e., 3 pods) reported the ads as more excessive and the commercial breaks more disruptive than those exposed to 1 pod. Clutter participa...
Article
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This study tested the ability of nine different auditory structural features to elicit orienting responses from radio listeners. It further tested the effect of the orienting response on listeners’ memory for information presented immediately following the orienting-eliciting structural feature. Results show that listeners do have significant decel...
Article
Full-text available
This study tested the ability of nine different auditory structural features to elicit orienting responses from radio listeners. It further tested the effect of the orienting response on listeners' memory for information presented immediately following the orienting-eliciting structural feature. Results show that listeners do have significant decel...
Article
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Two experiments explore the validity of conceptualizing musical beats as auditory structural features and the potential for increases in tempo to lead to greater sympathetic arousal, measured using skin conductance. In the first experiment, fast- and slow-paced rock and classical music excerpts were compared to silence. As expected, skin conductanc...
Article
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Twenty-five participants listened to 8 radio messages—half of which were greater in auditory structural complexity. Physiological measures were taken during mes-sage presentation, and self-report measures after each. Results show that increased auditory structural complexity led to higher self-reported and physiological arousal, better attitudes to...
Article
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This manuscript reports three experiments investigating the impact of television programming context on the processing of a fear-appeal message. This is done using a dual-motivation system theory conceptualizing emotion as arising from activation of the appetitive and/or aversive motivational systems. Results show that, as predicted, sad programmin...
Article
This experiment tested an intuitive principle in the radio industry: that production effects (i.e., laser sounds, voice modulation, etc.) increase listener attention to messages. Professional voice talent created 5-10 second promotional announcements (promos) for nine fictitious stations. Each contained a slogan considered typical of industry pract...
Article
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Using self-administered questionnaires, this study assessed ways in which the viewing experience for sports fans is similar to-and different from-the viewing experience for fans of other popular programming genres. Compared to fans of other genres, televised sports fans were likely to engage in a variety of pregame planning and information search a...
Article
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This content analysis of home pages from 365 randomly selected FM station Web sites examined how the industry is using the Web to deliver content. Results show three types of information are most prevalent. details about station events, disk jockey biographies, and contact information for the station. This is significantly different from the type o...
Article
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This study tested the validity of using facial electromyography (EMG) as a physiological measure of the valence of radio listeners' emotional responses to advertisements and explored the effects of message valence and listener arousal on attention and memory. A within-subjects experiment was conducted in which participants listened to ten 60-second...
Article
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This study examines the effect of the rate of edits (camera changes in the same visual scene) on viewers' arousal and memory. The rate of edits varied from slow to very fast. Results show that as the rate of edits increases physiological arousal, self-reported arousal, and memory increase. It is suggested that edits can increase attention to and en...
Article
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An experiment was designed to identify the voice change as a specific structural feature of radio that causes automatic allocation of cognitive resources to message encoding. The cardiac orienting response (OR) was used as an indication of this automatic resource allocation. It was hypothesized that listeners would exhibit cardiac ORs in response t...
Article
Although the Internet is not without its critics, many popular and academic writers are particularly effusive in their praise of the World Wide Web's interactive features. A content analysis of the formal features of 496 Web sites, drawn randomly from a sample of the top 5,000 most visited sites determined by 100hot.com, was performed to explore wh...
Article
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The limited capacity model of television viewing is used to investigate the impact of arousing content and fast paced production of viewers’ information processing of TV messages. Results show that both fast pace and arousing content elicit self‐reported arousal, but they elicit different patterns of physiological arousal. Both fast pace and arousi...
Article
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Two experiments tested the hypothesis that visual encoding of television messages is a relatively automatic process, whereas verbal encoding is a relatively controlled process. Subjects viewed 30 messages crossed on Production Pacing (slow, medium, fast) and Arousing Content (calming, arousing). It was argued that as pacing and arousal increased, t...
Article
A study examined whether structural features of radio elicit orienting responses in attentive and inattentive listeners. Subjects (college students enrolled in one of three telecommunications courses at a major Midwest university who received course credit for participation) listened to a 12-minute radio stimulus. Results showed that inattentive an...
Article
A study examined whether ethical sensitivity can be measured in response to radio programming. The study was interested in the extent to which a person feels a program is unethical in either its substance or its presentation. Subjects, 17 undergraduates in telecommunications at a large midwestern university, received course credit for their partici...

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Projects (5)
Project
Exploring the impact of auditory structural features (voice changes, production effect, sound effects, etc.) on automatic attention capture.