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25 papers accepted at ICA

69th Annual International Communication Association Conference

Students and faculty will present over 20 papers at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference

Communication Beyond Boundaries

Washington Hilton Hotel; Washington, D.C.; 24-28 May 2019


Calabrese, C. & Zhang, J. (2019, May). How Do Online Virality Metrics Influence Behavioral Intention? Understanding the Persuasive Mechanisms through Message Evaluation and Normative Perceptions. Extended abstract accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: Virality metrics indicate the real-time popularity of an online message. We hypothesized virality metrics will (1) increase people’s perceived effectiveness and credibility of a message and (2) increase perceived risk, injunctive norm, and descriptive norm toward a promoted health behavior compared to the absence of metrics, and larger metrics will lead to greater effects than smaller metrics. We conducted an online, between-subjects design experiment with 4 conditions (high, medium, low, and no metrics). Participants viewed an HIV prevention campaign video accompanied by a number of online shares, then completed a questionnaire assessing outcome variables. Findings indicate virality metrics had an effect on message evaluation and behavioral determinants only when the metric’s magnitude was large. Mediation analysis revealed perceived effectiveness of the message and perceived injunctive norm supporting condom use mediated the effect on increasing condom use intention. This study invites researchers to consider leveraging virality metrics in online health campaigns.


Carter, M. C., Cingel, D. P., Lauricella, A. R., & Wartella, E. (2019, May). Descriptive  and injunctive norms relate to adolescent and young adult mental health-related behaviors following exposure to tough topic programming. Paper presented at the 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association, Washington, D.C.

ABSTRACT: While studies have targeted the effects of media programming addressing controversial topics among youth (i.e., tough topic programs; TTP), how this type of media content influences viewers related to topics beyond teen pregnancy is not well understood, nor whether TTP carries global implications. We examined how a TTP, 13 Reasons Why, relates to social perceptions about mental illness among a sample of adolescent and young adult viewers and non-viewers across four global regions (N = 3520). Further, we assessed the influence of viewer (n = 1624) characteristics (e.g., age, culture) on the association between perceptions of mental illness norms and the uptake of prosocial mental health-related behaviors (e.g., expressing thoughts about suicide) among viewers. Results revealed distinct cultural and age-related differences, and that viewers held higher perceived norms towards mental illness compared to non-viewers. Altogether, this study demonstrates that exposure to certain TTPs may benefit youth across the globe.


Cingel, D. P., Sumter, S. R., & Jansen, M. (2019, May). How does she do it? An experimental study of the pro- and antisocial effects of watching superhero content among late adolescents. Paper presented at the 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association, Washington, D.C.

ABSTRACT: Although superheroes are popular characters in child and adolescent programming, only a small body of research has considered the effects of exposure, particularly among adolescents. Understanding the effect of exposure to this type of media content is important because superheroes often use violence to achieve prosocial goals. Further complicating these effects, superheroes often engage in stereotypically masculine behaviors, even when the superhero is female. To examine the effects of this type of programming, we conducted a three-condition experiment (N = 149; no-view control, non-violent superhero content, violent superhero content) among late adolescents ages 16-20. Participants completed measures of two indicators of prosociality, prosocial and defending intentions, and two indicators of hostility, meanness and aggravation. Results suggest a gender by condition interaction for both indicators of prosociality: prosocial and defending behaviors were significantly higher for male participants in the violent superhero content condition compared to males in the control and non-violent conditions. There were no significant main effects of condition or gender by condition interactions for the hostility indicators. Further, character identification did not moderate the effects. We contextualize these findings using past findings relating to pro- and antisocial media effects, as well as the social cognitive theory of gender development.


Cingel, D. P., Sumter, S. R., Stoeten, E., & Mann, S. (2019, May). Can television help to decrease stigmatization among young children? The role of Theory of Mind and general and explicit inserts. Paper presented at the 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association, Washington, D.C.

ABSTRACT: Past research has considered how exposure to certain media content affects children’s Theory of Mind (ToM). It is possible, however, that ToM also moderates the effects of exposure to televised narratives on children’s behavior. Previous work found that special inserts, designed to help children understand an inclusion message, were somewhat effective in promoting children’s comprehension of the moral lesson. Such inserts, however, may be most effective in promoting inclusion among children lowest in ToM, who would theoretically be least likely to engage in such prosocial behaviors. To test this possibility, we use data collected from four- to six-year-old children in [COUNTRY BLINDED] (N = 66). We randomly assigned children to one of three conditions: a control, a treatment condition with general show inserts, and a treatment condition with explicit lesson inserts. Results indicate that children’s prosocial intentions mediate the relationship between condition and stigmatization, but only among children in the explicit condition lowest in ToM. This suggests that explicit inserts can help children low in ToM to learn from inclusion narratives. Comprehension of the moral lesson did not mediate this relationship. We integrate these findings with existing research, discussing overall conclusions in the context of child development.


DeAngelo, T. I., & Yegiyan, N. (2019, November). Guiding User Attention: How Position on Screen and Visual Cues Affect News Selection and Story Recall. Extended abstract accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: This study investigated how online news stories are selected and remembered as a function of either structural position on screen or story visual salience. Research suggests users attend to website content beginning in the top-left area, moving across and down the screen, existing in the bottom-right area. Other research suggests users attend to content based on the story’s visual salience. To test which design principle will drive news selection and memory, participants (N = 381) navigated a news website containing eight news stories positioned across four screen quadrants (top-left, top-right, bottom-left, and bottom-right). Stories appeared with or without a visual salience cue (i.e., an image). Analysis found screen position to be a strong predictor of story selection and memory; top-left stories were selected and recalled earliest while bottom-right stories were selected and recalled last. Visual salience did not disrupt the effect of screen position on story selection and recall.


Ding, J., & Zhang, J. (2019, November). The Effects of Vaccine Misinformation and Refutational Messages on Negative Emotions and Vaccine Attitudes. Paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: Vaccine misinformation has negatively impacted people’s vaccine beliefs and behaviors. At the same time, strategies to correct misinformation have shown conflicting effects. This study aimed to examine how vaccine misinformation impacted vaccine attitude through cognitive and affective routes, and more importantly how two-sided refutational messages could revert the negative impact. We conducted an online experiment with five message conditions (N = 609), featuring the MMR vaccine: two misinformation messages, two two-sided refutational messages, and a control group. Results showed that both conspiracy and uncertainty framed misinformation messages decreased pro-vaccine attitude in contrast to the control condition. The two refutational messages increased pro-vaccine attitude in contrast to the corresponding misinformation messages. These effects were further mediated by changes in people’s emotion of anger. These findings suggest that misinformation impact on attitude may be largely driven by people’s anger response, and two-sided refutational messages can be a promising strategy to negate misinformation.


Flores, P. M. & Hilbert, M. (2019, November). The Lifecycle of Communicated Emotions in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster. Extended abstract accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: In our increasingly connected world, it is not surprising that topics such as protests, elections, opinion polarization, or responses to natural disasters have been analyzed within social media environments. In this scenario, this work seeks to understand the relationship between emotions, specifically how they evolve and influence one another over time. This was done by studying Twitter data of the earthquake that struck Taiwan in February 2018 by using the Natural Language Process for emotion classification and causality time series analysis. Our findings suggest that during the first 12 hours, emotions of disgust and anger caused fear and sadness, respectively. Although fear was a predictor of anger during the entirety of the first day, once that time passed, there was only one remaining emotion: sadness—which caused fear, anger and disgust. Interestingly, the casual relationship between sadness and disgust appeared only after the third day following the earthquake


Kim, C., Feng, B., & Kim, T. (2019, November). Towards Reducing Online Social Capital Divide: Factors Affecting Individuals’ Reciprocity in Social Media. Paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: By exchanging social support and information with close and weak ties, people gain bonding and bridging social capital on social media. What motivates individuals to engage in the beneficial exchange in social media is trust that other members will be reciprocal. However, some user groups such as older adults are often less reciprocal in social media because of their low familiarity with the technology. Addressing the problem of social capital divide where users with lower reciprocity benefit less from using social media than others, this project aimed to understand the factors affecting individuals’ reciprocity in social media by proposing the model of online reciprocity. Two studies using mixed methods of survey and field study were used. In Study 1, the model with reciprocity norm, off-line reciprocal behaviors, and familiarity with technology as predictors was tested on the self-report reciprocal behaviors in social media. In Study 2, the respecified model was tested on the behavioral measurements of reciprocity on whether one replied and how one replied (message length, politeness, and amount of information). The results indicated that reciprocity norm, mediated by off-line reciprocal behaviors, affected self-report reciprocity in social media. The effect varied in explaining behavioral measures of different types of reciprocity. Particularly relevant to the issue of social capital divide, perceived behavioral control was found to be an important factor affecting all types of reciprocity.


Kim, C., Shen, C., & Kosinski, M. (2019, November). Age Difference in The Effects of Social Network Activities on Life Satisfaction. Paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: Social Networking Sites (SNSs) are found to be promoting bridging and bonding social capital by allowing users to engage in different types of networking activities with their close and weak ties. However, these findings primarily focus on the population of college students, leaving the effects of SNSs on psychological well-being of older adult population less studied. Few studies that focused on older population used simplistic measures of SNS usage without examining different effects of specific SNS activities. Therefore, this project aimed to examine the patterns and effects of engaging in different Facebook activities on older users over 55 as compared to younger adults between 18 and 24, using Facebook activity data in conjunction with survey data. Socioemotional Selectivity Theory was used to explain different goals and values older adults have than younger adults as well as different effects of SNS activities on psychological well-being of older adults compared to younger adults. We found that older adults prioritize the values relevant to limited future time perspective more, engage in Facebook activities targeting large and unspecified audience less, and benefit from large network size less and from uploading photos more compared to younger adults. Also, Facebook activities were positively associated with satisfaction with life of younger and older adults in general.    


Krcmar, M., Cingel, D. P., & Rankin, M. (2019, May). Exploring differential relationships   between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat use and individuals’ well-being. Paper presented at the 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association, Washington, D.C.

ABSTRACT: This paper uses two studies (total N = 492) to examine the relationship between social media use and indicators of well-being in a sample of adolescents and emerging adults (ages 14-27). We measured different types of use on social media platforms, including active posting and passive browsing behaviors. In study 2, we also compared relationships between four different platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Results suggest differences between users and non-users of Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat in terms of loneliness and social competence. Furthermore, Instagram posting was positively related to social competence and negatively related to loneliness; Snapchat showed a positive relationship between postingand self-esteem; and Snapchat browsing related positively to social competence and negatively to loneliness. Findings are discussed in terms of the importance of considering not only the differences in affordances of various platforms, but also how specific types of social media use relate to well-being.


Lauricella, A. R., Cingel, D. P., & Wartella, E. (2019, May). Parasocial relationships with different media characters relate to self-reported behavior change: Exploring viewer comprehension of 13 Reasons Why. Paper presented at the 69th annual conference of the International Communication Association, Washington, D.C.

ABSTRACT: Children, adolescents, and young adults engage in similar activities after they see them modeled by their favorite media character. With an increase in tough topic streaming media, it is important to examine how parasocial relationships with media characters impact adolescents’ and young adults’ behavior change following exposure.  Using data from adolescents and young adults living in four regions around the world (N = 1624), this study assesses the relationship between viewers’ parasocial relationships with their self-selected favorite media characters, story comprehension, health information seeking, and empathic behavior after viewing the first season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. A set of moderated mediation models demonstrated that parasocial relationship intensity was directly related to comprehension, information seeking, and empathic behavior. Additionally, comprehension mediated the relationship between parasocial relationships and behavior change. Further, we found that viewers’ favorite character moderated this mediating relationship in two of the four regions. The results of this study indicate that parasocial relationships play an important role in the comprehension of tough topic entertainment content and influence both information seeking and empathic behavior post-viewing. The results are discussed in light of parasocial relationship development.


Menchen-Trevino, E., Wojcieszak, M., Weeks, B., &Ferreira Gonçalves, J. (May, 2019). Measuring News Exposure using Surveys and Digital Trace Data: Exploring new connections and divergences.

ABSTRACT: Measuring individual news exposure is an ever challenging task that is crucial to political communication. Relying on web browsing history records and survey responses from 688 social media users (N= 21,824,150 visits to websites), we examine the correspondence between self-reported news use and behavioral trace data on respondents’ actual online activities as determined by their willingly shared browsing history, and also test which news use indicator correlates more strongly with self-reported measures on following politics. Furthermore, we test whether the correspondence between self-reports and trace data depends on three individual-level factors (age, education and partisanship) and a host of “context-of-use” factors (e.g., the use of other media and devices, other browsers, etc.). Theoretically, we extend the investigation on how to best gauge people’s news exposure in the current environment and show that although both data sources are imperfect, they together offer insight into overall news consumption ecology, especially when the “context-of-use” factors are taken into account. This project also contributes to open data science by advancing an open-source, free online data collection tool.


Palomares, N. A., Wingate, V. S., Huang, K., & Young, J. Ignominious and anonymous: What is the role of public cyberbullying in goal understanding and uncertainty reduction? Paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: Cyberbullying is a serious social issue with significant consequences for those involved. The extent to which cyberbullying occurs publicly is not uniform. Social media platforms and other digital media provide seemingly never-ending ways in which a bully can send aggressive messages to a target. Two experiments test the impact of publicness on perceptions of bullying from goal understanding and uncertainty reduction theoretical perspectives. Specifically, we hypothesized and generally confirmed that increases in targets’ inferences of personal-attack goals predicted increases in targets’ use of uncertainty reduction strategies (URS) to gain information about a bully’s identity and motives in both public and private bullying contexts. When targets infer personal attack goals, they also tend to experience increased levels of hurt, perceived severity, and negative emotional reaction regardless of publicness. Findings show, however, that inferences of bullies’ attempt to gain status in a social network seem to depend on publicness, although findings were less clear across the experiments. Inferring upward-mobility goals were more likely to predict increased use of URS in the public condition relative to private bullying. Findings regarding the extent to which targets were attracted to the bully were inconclusive but yield promising ideas for future work when considering operational differences across the two experiments. Implications of publicness in cyberbullying are discussed.


Peña, J., & Hill, D. (2019, May). The song remains the same: No replication for identity shift effects. Paper accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: Identity shift describes how individuals commit to self-presentations made in public computer-mediated contexts. This study replicates and expands identity shift effects to virtual reality. Participants were randomly assigned to present themselves as extraverted or introverted in pre-tested public or private virtual environments. The data analysis strategy was pre-registered before hypotheses testing and the study had a priori statistical power. The results did not replicate identity shift effects. Participants expected to be perceived as less extraverted when self-presenting as introverts, indicating meta-perception effects. Baseline extraversion predicted post-manipulation scores for extraversion self-perception and meta-perception. Participants acting as extraverts reported an increase in public identifiability. The results are discussed in the light of interpersonal perception models and the consistency of the identity shift effect.   


Shen, C., Sun, Q., Kim, T., Wolff, G., Ratan, R., and Williams, D. (2019, May). Viral Vitriol: Predictors and Contagion of Toxicity in World of Tanks. Paper presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: Toxic behaviors are pervasive in online games, and can be harmful for building a positive online environment for all participants. Guided by the social identity model of deindividuation, this study represents one of the first efforts to examine the antecedents of toxicity in team-based online games using longitudinal behavioral data. It fills two important gaps in existing research, by 1) exploring non-verbal and behavioral dimensions of toxicity, and 2) examining team-level in addition to individual-level predictors. Employing a large-scale behavioral dataset from the popular game World of Tanks, we found that, in general, experienced and skillful players are more likely to commit toxic behaviors. Teams that are losing, or have a high internal skill disparity among their members tend to breed toxicity. In addition, this study provides empirical evidence that toxicity is contagious among players, especially toxic behaviors in one’s own teams and in clan battles.


Wojcieszak, M. & Warner, B. (2019, May). Can Intergroup Contact Reduce Affective Polarization among Democrats and Republicans? Systematic test of four different forms of intergroup contact

ABSTRACT: Affective polarization, or the extent to which partisans treat each other as a disliked outgroup, is an ingrained feature of the contemporary American democracy. Yet, only a few studies investigate how to minimize interparty hostilities. This project bridges the work on affective polarization with the socio-psychological theorizing on intergroup contact to test whether nine distinct intergroup contact strategies can attenuate affective polarization. Relying on data from three original experiments on national samples collected by Survey Sampling International and on a secondary dataset from Pew Research Center, we examine whether (1) cooperative interparty interactions exert stronger effects than simple positive contact, (2) perceived interconnectedness between the self and the outgroup mediates contact effects, (3) polarization has broader implications for the political system (i.e., support for interparty compromise and attribution of malevolence to the outparty), and (4) interparty contact enhances support for interparty compromise and decreases attribution of malevolence indirectly through reducing polarization. We find persistent de-polarizing effects of outgroup contact, though these effects are  primarily indirect. We also show that polarization predicts lower support for interparty compromise and greater attribution of malevolence and that contact may reduce these attitudes.


Wojcieszak, M., Menchen-Trevino, E., Pak, C.  Casas, A. (May, 2019). New(s) Media use and party- ideology- and issue- based affective polarization: Evidence from three countries.

ABSTRACT: Most research on digital media use and polarization, and on affective polarization more broadly, comes from two-party contexts that have a clear-cut distinction between one’s in- and out-party. Such a distinction is missing in multi-party systems, where partisan identity may not be as salient as ideological identity or as other socio-political identities potentially unrelated to partisanship. In this presentation, we speculate about how different media and political systems can lead to the emergence of different forms of affective polarization. We draw on survey data from Poland, the Netherlands, and the United States combined with behavioral trace data on respondents’ actual online activities from their browsing history. We examine (1) the patterns of affective polarization (2) the associations between affective polarization and use of offline media, online websites and blogs, and also social networks and hybrid networks, as well as (3) the relationship between affective polarization and ideological news browsing.


Wolff, G., & Peña, J. (2019, May). Expectation states and competency’s influence on video game sexism and subgrouping intentions in same-sex dyads. Paper accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: This study examined the impact of player sex and game partner competency in online cooperative gaming contexts. Drawing upon expectation states (ES) theory, an experiment (N = 185) examined how status characteristics (i.e., game partners’ biological sex) and behavioral exchanges (i.e., displaying game competency) influenced video game sexism toward women and intentions toward future subgrouping. Participants played in same-sex dyads with a confederate partner trained to communicate either competency or incompetency through game behaviors and voicechat verbal remarks. Dyad sex composition influenced video game sexism more for males compared to females, but not intentions toward subgrouping. Partner competency increased intention toward subgrouping relative to incompetency but had no effects on sexism. Male-incompetent partner dyads exhibited no sexism differences relative to male-competent dyads, whereas female-competent dyads showed lower sexism than female-incompetent, male-competent, and male-incompetent dyads. The findings are discussed in the light of expectation states theory and internalized sexism among women.


Zhan. Y, & Yegiyan. N (2019, May). Exploring the Mechanism of Emotion Spillover Effect: Motivational Activation Modulates Product Attitude and Choice. Extended abstract accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Washington, District of Columbia.

ABSTRACT: This study proposes and tests the idea that the motivational activation decay from preceding emotional content could modulate the product attitude and purchase intention towards the subsequent advertisement. Motivational activation decay suggests that the motivational activation level during subsequent ad processing is a function of the valence and arousing content of the preceding content. On top of that, this study predicts that appetitive activation level during ad processing is higher when preceding content is positive rather than negative, resulting in better product recognition, favorable product attitude and higher purchase intention. In addition, this study predicts that the appetitive activation level during ad is higher when the preceding content is positive arousing rather than positive calm, resulting in better product recognition, favorable product attitude and higher purchase intention. Lastly, this study predicts that the aversive activation level during ad processing is lower when the preceding content is negative calm rather than negative arousing, resulting in better product recognition, favorable product attitude and higher purchase intention. Physiological, behavioral and self-reported data are used to test the hypotheses. Preliminary data analyses provide some evidence for the hypotheses.


Zhang, J., Le, G., Larochelle, D., Pasick, R., Sawaya, G., Sarkar, U., Centola, D. (2019, May). Facts or stories? How to use social media for cervical cancer prevention: A multi-method study and randomized controlled trial of the effects of sender type and content type on message shares. Paper accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: To identify the effects of sender type (i.e., individuals or organizations) and content type (i.e., personal narratives or factual information) on promoting the spread of cervical cancer prevention messages over social media. Methods: We first analyzed the associations of the sender type and content type with retweet numbers of 462 observed tweets. Then we constructed 900 experimental tweet messages according to a 2 (sender type) by 2 (content type) factorial design and tested their probabilities of being shared in an online social media platform in 2017. A total of 782 female participants were randomly assigned to 87 independent 9-person online groups and each received a unique message feed of 100 tweets drawn from the 4 experimental cells over 5 days. We conducted both tweet-level and group-level analyses to examine the causal effects of tweet properties on influencing individual sharing behaviors. Results: The observational analysis showed personal experience contents and organizational senders were associated with more retweets. In contrast, in the online experiment, factual informational tweets led to 19% (95% CI, 11 to 27) more shares than personal experience tweets and organizational senders led to 10% (95% CI, 3 to 18) more shares than individual senders. Conclusions: While personal experience messages are rarely and idiosyncratically successful in observation, there is a reproducible, causal effect of organizational messages and factual information on increasing sharing behaviors.


Zhang, J., Oh, Y., Wang, X., Kim, R., Yang, S., & Yu, Z. (2019, May). First step towards an automated personalized persuasive conversational system: Investigating moderating effects of psychological factors. Extended abstract accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: The emergence of chatbots, along with the development of artificial intelligence, has led to a growing interest in developing conversational agents to effectively interact with people. So far, the primary goal of these agents is to facilitate task-completion and engagement in fields such as healthcare, e-commerce, and fundraising. While persuasive technologies for behavior change have successfully leveraged other system features, the development of artificial persuasive agents remains lagged due to a lack of synergy between social scientific research on persuasion and the computational development of conversational systems. In this abstract, we introduce the foundation work towards building an automated personalized persuasive conversational system. We first collected 1000 conversations on human-human persuasion conversations about charity donation. We designed a persuasive conversation strategy annotation scheme and annotated the collected conversations. Then we analyzed the relations among participants’ personality traits and moral foundation values and their donation behaviors and analyzed the moderating effects of these psychological factors on different persuasive strategies. Finally, we briefly discuss the current endeavor in building a multi-label multi-task machine learning model to automatically classify and generate personalized persuasive strategies.


Zhou Malloch, Y., & Peña, J. (2019, May). Biting humor: Effects of meme exposure and source’s social identity on observers’ food portion size choice. Paper accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: Public forums are convenient places where people discuss health problems and exchange social support. Guided by humor research and social identity theory, the current study provides empirical and behavioral evidence of the potential influence of public forum posts with meme humor and social identity cues on viewers’ high-sugar food taking behavior. Memes are popular online messages that usually carry humorous meanings. Social identity cues are important in anonymous communication online when viewers try to identify in- or out-group members. A two (meme: present vs. absent) by two (social identity: in-group vs. out-group) factorial experiment with 239 participants showed that meme presence instead of absence increased perceived funniness of the forum post, which then reduced high-sugar food taking when the message was from an in-group member, but increased high-sugar food taking when it was from an out-group member. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


Zimbres, T. M., Bell, R. A., & Taylor, L. D. (2019, May). Public versus media blame messages: Effects on stigma toward people with schizophrenia. Paper accepted for presentation at the 69th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: We examined the effectiveness of two messages in reducing stigma toward schizophrenia: a public blame article that attributes stigma to public ignorance, and a media blame article that attributes ignorance to bias in media representations. Participants were randomly assigned to a public blame, media blame, or control condition. Participants in the article conditions completed measures of guilt and reactance toward the media. Perceptions of personal responsibility and dangerousness, and social rejection intentions were assessed for all participants. Both articles lowered perceptions of dangerousness and social rejection intentions, relative to control. The media blame generated more reactance than the public blame approach, but not more guilt. Reactance did not mediate message effects. Perceptions of personal responsibility were reduced after exposure to the public blame article, but only for participants with no prior contact with mental illness. Implications for message design and audience targeting in interventions to reduce stigma are discussed.