New Research from Maryland

Newly published research from Maryland faculty and graduate students:

Recently published in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives: "Biased Assimilation and Need for Closure: Examining the Effects of Mixed Blogs on Vaccine-Related Beliefs," by associate professor Xiaoli Nan and Ph.D. alumna Kelly Daily

Abstract: This study examines the effect of mixed online information, in the form of user-generated blogs, related to the HPV vaccine on perceived efficacy and safety of this vaccine. Guided by the theoretical frameworks of biased assimilation and need for closure, this research hypothesizes that exposure to mixed blogs about the HPV vaccine will lead to polarization of HPV vaccine-related beliefs among individuals with opposing prior opinions about vaccination and that the polarizing effects will be most pronounced among those high in need for closure. A controlled experiment (N = 338) found support for the hypotheses with regard to efficacy beliefs but not with regard to safety beliefs. Implications for health communication research and practice are discussed.

Recently published in Communication Monographs: "Facial Similarity Mitigates the Persuasive Effects of Source Bias: An Evolutionary Explanation for Kinship and Susceptibility to Influence," by Ph.D. alumnus Adam Richards and associate professor Dale Hample

Abstract: This research examined how the interaction between a source's facial similarity to message targets and communicated bias affects audience persuadability. We used an evolutionary explanation to hypothesize that biased sources would elicit less favorable attitudes than unbiased sources for dissimilar sources, but that this difference would be absent for similar sources. Predictions were supported by results from a 2 (facial similarity) × 2 (source bias) experiment, in which an unrecognizable percentage of participants' photographs (n = 94) was digitally morphed with a source's face to act as a kinship cue. Further, structural equation modeling demonstrated a direct effect of facial similarity on attitude independent of mediation by source liking and appraisals, providing further evidence that susceptibility to influence from facially similar sources may have evolutionary origins.

Recently published in the special Centennial Issue of the Quarterly Journal of Speech: "Expanding the Discipline's Debate Contributions: New Potentials, Beyond Effects," by professors Trevor Parry-Giles and Shawn J. Parry-Giles

Abstract: This response to Kathleen Hall Jamieson's “The Discipline's Debate Contributions” brings forth, via a sampling of existing literature, those research trajectories about political debates ignored or minimized by Professor Jamieson as those trajectories hold true to the values and traditions of the Communication discipline and as they operate alongside the literature she surveys about debate effects. In particular, we suggest that political debates provide fascinating material for a range of rhetorical analyses that examine (1) the production and creation of political debates as rhetorical/political artifacts; (2) the language and arguments put forth in these events; and (3) the circulation of political debates as rhetorical texts in and through U.S. political culture. In so doing, we resist the hegemony of Professor Jamieson's “effects” approach to political debates both as that hegemony demarcates research about political debates and as it describes the limits and scope of Communication research generally.

Recently published in the Atlantic Journal of Communication: "A Postmodern Turn for Social Media Research: Theory and Research Directions for Public Relations Scholarship," by Ph.D. student Amanda Kennedy and assistant professor Erich Sommerfeldt

Abstract: The public relations literature on social media has focused primarily on how social media platforms can be leveraged to the advantage of organizations for relationship building and so-called dialogue with publics. Yet most research has positioned relationships in social media merely as opportunities for information exchange, perpetuating models of public relations grounded in systems theory that ignore power imbalances. Consequently, this article offers insights from postmodernist theories to first deconstruct existing research and then offer suggestions for future social media scholarship. The article argues that social media scholars have privileged dominant rational models of social engagement. Dissensus and disorder, according to Lyotard, may be as legitimate and more liberatory states of discourse for marginalized publics. Postmodern theories of language games and differential consciousness are also positioned as ways in which social media theory and practice may be advanced. The article thus complicates how relationships are theorized in contemporary scholarship and challenges both scholars and practitioners to rethink approaches to social media practice through a postmodern lens.

Recently published in Communication Research: "Social Media Use during Disasters: How Information Form and Source Influence Intended Behavioral Responses," by associate professor Brooke Fisher Liu and Ph.D. student Julia Daisy Fraustino (with Yan Jin, University of Georgia). 

Abstract: This study provides insights that can inform disaster communication management, policymaking, and theory building through a nationally representative field experiment (N = 2,015 U.S. adults) grounded in media richness theory, information and communication technologies (ICTs) succession theory, and the social-mediated crisis communication (SMCC) model. Key findings include the following: (1) Significant main effects of disaster information source were detected on how likely participants were to seek further disaster information from TV, local government websites, and federal government websites; (2) regardless of information form and source, participants reported strongest intentions to immediately communicate about the disaster predominately via offline interpersonal forms rather than through online organizational and personal forms; and (3) regardless of information source, participants reported strong intentions to evacuate if instructed to do so by the government. These findings call for developing crisis communication theory that is more focused on how publics communicate with each other rather than with organizations about disasters and predict a wider variety of crisis communication outcomes.


0 Comment(s) to the "New Research from Maryland"