How does the medium shape selective exposure processes and outcomes? What aspects of news articles are more salient when using different communication technologies? Current studies in this domain examine selective exposure processes and effects in the offline, online, and mobile domains.
Computational social science is a multidisciplinary approach to measuring and understanding human behavior with tools, precision, and methodologies that were largely thought impossible a decade ago. Communication scholars use a wide range of scalable computational tools to leverage the sea of information, especially in social media, to investigate human communicative activities, relationships, and their impacts.
How does the media we consume for leisure affect our perceptions of the world? Why do we select certain types of entertainment content, and how does it affect our cognition and mood? Current studies in this domain investigate the selection and impact of self-improvement and eudaimonic (touching or meaningful) content.
Why do we select certain online health related content? How do health messages in the media shape our attitudes and beliefs? Current studies in this domain explore how message characteristics influence preferences for health content and attitudes towards beneficial health behaviors.
What psychological processes underlie the selection and processing of mass and social media messages? What media contents do people select and how do they process them contents under different motivations and to achieve different outcomes? Do these processes hold for different communication contexts (such as political, health, environmental, risk, communication technology, etc.) and across genres (such as news articles or newscasts, entertainment content, testimonials, social media posts, video games, etc.)? Current studies in this domain explore these questions with a focus on motivations and outcomes related to the self and affect.
How can media messages shape our attitudes, beliefs, and actions? What aspects of certain messages affect persuasive outcomes? Current studies in this domain ask questions about why narratives are persuasive as well as the role of self in changing attitudes and behaviors.
Citizens commonly encounter political information through mediated messages. They may seek to reinforce preexisting views, but may also form impressions of what views other people hold and what opinions are ok to express in public. Recent and ongoing studies have examined how citizens’ self-perceptions shape what sources of political information they attend to, how attitudes are influenced by selective exposure to political content, and how ‘being publicly visible’ through online profiles and popularity cues affect what political messages are consumed.
What message strategies are effective to achieve different science and environmental outcomes, including increasing knowledge and interest in science, changing environmental beliefs and attitudes, promoting information seeking in science and environmental topics, and fostering environmental behavioral change? What are the underlying mechanisms through which these message strategies exert their effects (mediators), and to which segment of the population are they most effective (moderators)? Current studies in this domain explore these questions in topics such as climate change, energy policies, stem cell research, and environmental behaviors.
What motivates us to seek out information from ingroup sources? When is this information simply deemed more credible? When do we act instead from higher order motivations, such as a self-consistency, self-enhancement, or a need to belong? The overarching goal of this work is to understand how selective exposure is shaped by the tension between the individual and her ingroups and between ingroups and outgroups.
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