New Research from UMD

Newly published research from Maryland faculty and graduate students:

UPDATE: Recently published in Science Journal of Sociology and Anthropology: "NSFW: Experiencing Immanentism or Transcendence upon Hearing Gilbert Gottfried's Rendition of Fifty Shades of Grey in the Postmodern Workplace, Or Liberatory Criminology," co-authored by lecturer Jon Hoffman (along with Barry Brummett, Joshua Gunn, and Amy Young).

Abstract: Abstract- By examining the self-reports of individuals who have listened to the "audio book" version of the novel Fifty Shades of Grey at their place of employment, we argue the practice of such listening can be read as a form of liberatory criminology. Liberatory criminology, we argue, is a counter-hegemonic practice of hearing that tempts both immanetism and transcendence in three enjoyable ways: revulsion, envy, and ecstasy.

Recently published in Arab Media & Society: "Mubarak Framed!: Humor and Political Activism before and during the Egyptian Revolution," by lecturer Deepa Anagondahalli and associate professor Sahar Khamis.

Abstract: The Egyptian revolution of 2011 that lasted 18 days brought to an end President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year reign in Egypt. It brought to fore a variety of protest materials ranging in content from strict condemnation to comedic creativity, and ranging in form from hand-held banners during protests to Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and digital jokes online. However, criticism of Mubarak’s character and regime predates the protests of the Arab Spring. The people of Egypt have developed a tradition of expressing their dissent against all political regimes, including Mubarak’s, through the use of humor. This study analyzed the use of humor both during the Mubarak regime (including before the protests) and during the protests of the Arab Spring. Although the Egyptian people used humor-based strategies liberally both before and during the protests, it appears that the type of humor used and the functions it served were different. This study analyzed the political climate’s influence on using humor as an overt and covert dissent strategy. The functions of different types of humor, both online and offline, and the specific advantages they offer in expressing political dissent are also discussed.

Recently published in Communication Monographs: "Neural predictors of message effectiveness during counterarguing in antidrug campaigns," co-authored by assistant professor Amber Westcott-Baker.

Abstract: A substantial amount of research has focused on predicting the effectiveness of persuasive messages. However, characteristics of both the message itself and its receiver can impact theoretically predicted effects. For example, recent work published in this journal demonstrated that issue involvement modulates the relationship between message sensation value (MSV) and argument strength (AS). When exposed to anti-cannabis public service announcements (PSAs), high-drug-risk individuals rate these messages as having low effectiveness regardless of variation in MSV and AS. Accordingly, for high-risk individuals, MSV and AS lose their predictive power in message design; moreover, the all too common use of high MSV, high AS PSAs to dissuade drug use may be ineffective, as high-risk viewers are more likely to engage in counterarguing. In this paper, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the neural correlates of counterarguing. Subsequently, we employ a brain-as-predictor approach using neural activation and self-report data to predict message effectiveness in two independent samples. We demonstrate that by adding two neural predictors within the middle frontal gyrus and superior temporal gyrus to self-report data, the prediction accuracy of message effectiveness in high-drug-risk individuals during counterarguing can reach, and even surpass, the prediction accuracy for low-drug-risk individuals.

Recently published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research: "Disasters and Information Source Repertoires: Information Seeking and Information Sufficiency in Postearthquake Haiti," by assistant professor Erich Sommerfeldt.

Abstract: This study examines how Haitians used “information source repertoires” to meet information insufficiencies following the 2010 earthquake. Using survey data gained in Haiti, the study explores which demographic and structural factors predicted the number of sources used and combinations of information sources following the disaster. Analysis of the data revealed two distinct repertoires of information sources: a “traditional” repertoire of radio, TV, church, and word of mouth; and an “elite” repertoire of newspapers, the Internet, short-message-service, billboards, and the national police. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that demographic variables like education were stronger predictors of information repertoires than conditions like living in a refugee camp or having one's home destroyed. Results also suggested that greater reliance on a traditional repertoire led to decreased information sufficiency. Contrary to previous crisis research, men were found to be more active information seekers than women, suggesting that scholarly knowledge about information seeking and media use after crises in developing nations is limited. Implications for practice are directed at international development and aid organizations in planning postdisaster information provision efforts.

Recently published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research: "How Disaster Information Form, Source, Type and Prior Disaster Exposure Affect Public Outcomes: Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon?" by associate professor Brooke Fisher Liu and Ph.D. candidate Julia Daisy Fraustino.

Abstract: As public expectations continue to grow in terms of how governments should monitor social media during disasters, it is critical to provide empirical support for the extent to which governments should continue to invest in social media as essential disaster communication tools. This 3 × 4 × 2 between-subjects experiment (N = 871) tested which, if any, disaster information forms and sources were more likely to generate desired public outcomes such as intentions to seek and share information through an array of communication channels. The study also tested related influences of person-made versus natural disaster type. Finally, this study examined whether a known real-world disaster potentially affected participants' responses to hypothetical disaster information. Key findings include: (1) there were significant main effects of disaster information form and source, but no single form and source combination consistently predicted behavioral intentions; (2) there were no main effects of disaster type on all tested outcomes; and (3) there were no differences in how disaster information form and source affected participants' intentions to seek information before and after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.

Recently published in Health Communication: "Temporal framing and consideration of future consequences: Effects on smokers' and at-risk nonsmokers' responses to cigarette health warnings," co-authored by associate professor Xiaoli Nan and doctoral students Irina Iles and Bo Yang.

Abstract: This research examines the influence of temporal framing (long-term vs. short-term) and individual difference in consideration of future consequences (CFC) on the effectiveness of cigarette health warnings among smokers and at-risk nonsmokers in a college population. An online experiment (N = 395) revealed a three-way interaction among temporal framing, CFC, and smoking status. The results among at-risk nonsmokers supported the temporal fit hypothesis—those high in CFC responded more favorably to long-term framing, whereas those low in CFC responded more positively to short-term framing. The findings among smokers revealed a different pattern in which short-term framing was more effective among high-CFC smokers, whereas among low-CFC smokers the framing effect was not distinct. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

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