Risky Business: How Alternative Perceptions of Risk Form in Opposition to Scientific Certainty
February 16th: Nick Carcioppolo (Assistant Professor, Communication Studies)
Scientific investigation has thoroughly and unilaterally explicated the relationship between unnecessary UV exposure and melanoma incidence. Problematically, indoor tanning is more popular today than it has ever been in history. The present talk will highlight the differences between objective facts and public perceptions of risk related to UV exposure, describe attitudes and beliefs that can be targeted to yield more accurate perceptions of risk, and suggest strategies for future intervention in this area.
The Self-Expressive Customization of a Product: Can Improve Your Performance
February 23rd: Chris Janiszewski (Professor, Marketing)
This research demonstrates that the self-expressive customization of a product can improve performance on tasks performed using the customized product. Five studies show that the effect is robust across different types of tasks (e.g., persistence tasks, concentration tasks, agility tasks). The evidence further shows that the effect is not due to changes in product efficacy beliefs, feelings of competence, feelings of accomplishment, mood, task desirability, goal activation, or goal attainability. Instead, the self-expressive customization of a product extends an identity (e.g., personal identity, group identity) into the product. When the product is subsequently used to pursue a goal whose desired outcome can affirm the extended identity, performance improves.
The Role of Social Comparison in Exposure and Emotional Responses to Reality and Scripted Television Programs
March 2nd: Nicky Lewis (Assistant Professor, Journalism & Media Management)
In recent years, conceptualizations of media enjoyment have expanded beyond traditional experiences of fun and entertainment to include experiences of appreciation, meaningfulness, and need satisfaction as possible avenues to enjoyment. In this vein, certain social psychological processes can affect our media choices and in turn, influence emotional and enjoyment responses to the chosen content. This presentation will discuss the need for social comparison as a driver of some media choice behavior, including the role that individual differences and content factors can have on social comparison processes.
Transformational and Human Centered Design: Designing for Social Impact
March 9th: Lien Tran (Assistant Professor, Cinema & Interactive Media)
As the field of social impact design evolves, so too does the way in which we define and solve problems. In this talk, Lien Tran will share a survey of her creative work, collaborations, and teaching and highlight how 'tandem transformational design' and 'human centered design' can be applied for social impact as well as innovation.
Communication, A Post-Discipline
March 23rd: Silvio Waisbord (Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University)
Long-standing hopes for communication to become a cohesive field of knowledge are yet to be met. A combination of factors drive intellectual balkanization, namely, ontological and disciplinary traditions, the constant drive to thematic hyper-specialization, and academic dispersion. Additionally, the "communication of everything," intensified by the encroachment of digital technologies in every corner of social life, exacerbates the lack of intellectual cohesion. Also, questions about communication issues clearly overflow the conventional boundaries and the analytical corpus of communication studies as they are found across the social sciences and the humanities. These forces have turned communication into a post-discipline that is not bounded by shared commitment to a common subject of study, body of knowledge, theoretical questions, and debates that characterize disciplines and fields. What essentially brings communication studies together is an institutional architecture of academic units, professional associations, and journals. In light of this situation, I argue, communication studies needs to embrace its post-disciplinary status and draw various threads of research around the study of specific social problems. Resolving multiple divides through theoretical or methodological synthesis is unlikely to deliver wide-ranging results. It would not counter strong tendencies to hyper-specialization. Theoretical, epistemological and ontological ecumenism is unlikely. A more productive path is to recognize pluralism and dispersion, and engage with real-world problems that need to be approached by integrating multiple communication perspectives.
Granting Legal Standing to Proxy Communicators to Facilitate Post-Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation: How Many People Don't and Why Not?
March 30th: Michael Beatty (Professor, Communication Studies)
In general, patient consent is required to initiate medical procedures beyond rudimentary emergency life-saving protocols. Patients cannot provide explicit consent, however, when they are unable to communicate due to catastrophic strokes. Under such conditions when the patient is an unmarried adult, only another adult granted power of attorney may serve as the patient's proxy communicator. In this research, two studies, one based on 299 unmarried adult 65 years of age or older, and another involving 311 unmarried adults 40 to 64 years of age. Results indicate that (1) the majority of participants in both groups have not designated a proxy communicator in the event of a stroke, (2) the overwhelming number of those surveyed are profoundly misinformed about the importance of proxy communicators with legal standing to make important post-emergency treatment decisions, and (3) the reasons given for not having designated a proxy communicator include procrastination, misinformation, not knowing who to appoint, and simply never having thought about it. Implications of the findings and suggestions for interventions are discussed.
Corporate Public Relations: Focusing on Crisis Communication and Social Responsibility
April 6th: Weiting Tao (Assistant Professor, Strategic Communication)
Research topics in the area of corporate public relations will be introduced, with a focus on corporate crisis communication/management and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Two specific research projects will be discussed briefly: "Consumer Reaction to Association-Based Crisis Response Strategies" (crisis communication and management) and "Employee Prosocial Engagement in CSR through Empowerment in Decision-Making" (corporate social responsibility).