Research Publication Roundup: October 2016

A vibrant and collaborative interdisciplinary research culture at the UNC School of Media and Journalism creates new knowledge, advances scholarship and helps reinvent media. Below is a list of recently published or presented scholarship by MJ-school faculty and students.


Saffer, A. (2016, September). Mapping the Global Forum for Media Development: A Network Analysis of Members. Presented at the 2016 Jakarta World Forum for Media Development

Saffer recently gave a plenary session at the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) conference in Jakarta. He presented the results of a network analysis of GFMD members. The report assessed relationships by measuring social capitol and made recommendations for solidifying the network.


Comello, M. L., & Farman, L. (2016). Identity as a Moderator and Mediator of Communication Effects: Evidence and Implications for Message Design. The Journal of Psychology, 150(7), 822-836. doi:10.1080/00223980.2016.1196160

Comello has previously argued that media can alter behavior by appealing to identity (the prism model). This article further develops that model by reanalyzing an experiment in which participants viewed differing portrayals of a recovering drug addict. The findings supported the prism model proposition that identity is both a mediator and moderator of communication effects.


Comello, M. L., Francis, D. B., Marshall, L. H., & Puglia, D. R. (2016). Cancer Survivors Who Play Recreational Computer Games: Motivations for Playing and Associations with Beneficial Psychological Outcomes. Games for Health Journal, 5(4), 286-292. doi:10.1089/g4h.2016.0003

This study, conducted by three Tar Heels, surveyed nearly 800 cancer survivors about their motivations for playing video games. The study found that survivors play games to gain a variety of psychological health benefits including a sense of accomplishment and a sense of community. The findings suggest that further research should be conducted into the health benefits of gaming.


Comello, M. L., Myrick, J. G., & Raphiou, A. L. (2016). A health fundraising experiment using the “foot-in-the-door” technique. Health Marketing Quarterly, 33(3), 206-220. doi:10.1080/07359683.2016.1199209

This article tests the foot-in-the-door technique (FITD) in a health fundraising context. FITD is getting someone to grant a small request in order to increase likelihood of compliance with a bigger request. The researchers conducted an experiment in a fundraising campaign for a cancer awareness organization. They found that participants in the foot-in-the-door sample gave more money but only in certain circumstances.


Sciarrino, J., & Prudente, J. (2016). She’s just not that into you: The mediating impact of brand attachment on digital interactions. Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing, 4(2), 157-169

JoAnn Sciarrino, the Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing, was the lead researcher in this study. It showed that consumers with high brand attachment will be more likely to follow and share branded content on social media.


Kreiss, D. (2016). Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Daniel Kreiss’s first book, Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama, made him a well-known scholar in the political communication field. This summer, he released a new book that expands his previous work. In Prototype Politics, Kreiss examines political campaigning that is “data-driven, personalized, and socially-embedded” and explains the differences in technology use between the two political parties.

Carpentier, F. R. (2016). Priming Sexual and Romantic Representations in Two Media Environments: Sex Encourages and Romance Discourages Sexual Permissiveness … Sometimes. The Journal of Sex Research, 1-11. doi:10.1080/00224499.2016.1189870

In this study, Francesca Dillman Carpentier conducted two experiments to evaluate the ability of sexual and romantic cues in media to increase or reduce self-reported sexual permissiveness. Participants rated themselves lower when exposed to romantic conditions than participants did in the sexual and control conditions. The findings suggest that media depictions of romantic committed couples might deter young adults from participating in casual sexual encounters.