Research Publication Roundup: October 2017

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.


Lee, T. H., and Boynton, L. A. (2017). Conceptualizing transparency: Propositions for the integration of situational factors and stakeholders’ perspectives. Public Relations Inquiry, 6(3), 233-251. DOI:
This new proposal for a comprehensive theoretical framework of transparency offers an operational definition of transparency as a process as well as a research framework. This conceptualization was based on an extensive literature review, in which the authors present the significance of integrating the two additional parameters of situational factors and stakeholders’ perspectives by focusing more on normative, rather than instrumental, perspectives.

Seidenberg, A. B., Noar, S. M., & Sontag, J. M. (2017). Is initiating tanning bed use as a minor associated with increased risky tanning behaviors and burning? An exploratory study. Preventive Medicine, 105, 15-18.
This study examined the associations between age of indoor tanning initiation and risky tanning behaviors and burning. Results of the study showed that participants initiating indoor tanning as a minor had significantly greater odds of using a tanning bed 10 or more times in the previous year, typically indoor tanning for ≥10min, ever indoor tanning without wearing goggles, and ever fallen asleep inside a tanning bed. The researchers propose that youth access restrictions may help reduce the harms caused by tanning beds.

Bullock, G., Johnson, C., & Southwell, B., (2017) Activating values to stimulate organic food purchases: Can advertisements increase pro-environmental intentions? Journal of Consumer Marketing, 34(5), 427-441.
This paper examined different strategies for an increasing adoption of “environmentally friendly” products. Through the use of two survey experiments, results showed that while advertisements designed to activate values may have limited effect on consumer intentions, those that relate to protecting the health of oneself and one’s family are most likely to increase organic purchases.

Barnes, S. R. (2017). Examining the processes involved in the design of journalistic information graphics: An exploratory study. Journal of Visual Literacy, 1-22. doi:10.1080/1051144X.2017.1372088
This paper attempts to articulate the process of producing infographics, as well as investigates where strengths and fallacies potentially exist in its execution. Results of a cognitive task analysis indicated that the infographic design process is macrocognitive and that when a sufficient level of expertise exists an individual’s conceptualization of the process is more congruent to their application of it.

Kim, D. H., Seely, N. K., & Jung, J. H. (2017). Do you prefer, Pinterest or Instagram? The role of image-sharing SNSs and self-monitoring in enhancing ad effectiveness. Computers in Human Behavior, 70(Supplement C), 535-543. doi:
This two-study research through an online survey and a subsequent lab experiment applied self-monitoring theory to investigate how individuals’ dispositional self-monitoring levels differ when exposed to two image-sharing social network sites (SNSs)—Pinterest and Instagram. Results from both studies suggested that students in the low self-monitoring group interacted more intensely with Pinterest than Instagram. Additionally, individuals’ interactions with Pinterest and Instagram influenced their dispositional self-monitoring levels, as well as their preferences toward different types of persuasive messages (image-oriented vs. product-oriented advertisement).

Kim, D. H., Yoo, J. J., & Lee, W.-N. (2016). The influence of self-concept on ad effectiveness: Interaction between self-concept and construal levels on effectiveness of advertising. Journal of Marketing Communications, 1-12. doi:10.1080/13527266.2016.1235601
This study examined the role of self-concept in consumer responses to advertising messages. Results from an experimental study suggested that individuals primed into their actual self evaluated the concrete ad message more favorably than they did the abstract ad message. In contrast, those primed into their ideal self responded more favorably to the abstract ad than to the concrete ad.

Kim, D. H., Yoo, J. J., & Lee, W.-N. (2016). The influence of self-concept on ad effectiveness: Interaction between self-concept and construal levels on effectiveness of advertising. Journal of Marketing Communications, 1-12. doi:10.1080/13527266.2016.1235601
This research used two unique studies to examine how individuals’ cultural orientations (Korea and the United States) influenced the relationship between their construal level and temporal distance. Study 1 looked at the relationship between culture and construal level through the Behavior Identification Form. Study 2 investigated the three-way interaction between culture, temporal distance, and construal level frame of persuasive messages (desirability vs feasibility focused message). Findings revealed that individuals’ cultural orientations influenced their construal level and perceived temporal distance. Additionally, when individuals from a collectivistic culture were in a proximal temporal condition, they tend to show a more favorable attitude toward the ad emphasizing the feasibility features of the product.

Sontag, J. M., & Barnes, S. R. (2017). The visual framing of graphics when used in preventative health digital news packages: exploring the use of a narrative structure as the message infrastructure. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 40(3), 109-119. doi:10.1080/17453054.2017.1366824
This study explored how visual framing can be used in conjunction with narrative to improve health-message effectiveness. Participants of an experiment were assigned to a message condition determined by segments (establisher, initial, peak), graphic (static, animated) and cancer (lung, melanoma). Results revealed that melanoma was more believable than lung cancer with static graphics at the establisher and peak; narratives were more believable with animated graphics at the peak segment; melanoma elicited greater positive attitudes; and graphics in the peak influenced greatest intentions. Overall, animated graphics visually framed to emphasize information at the establisher and peak segments suggest maximum effectiveness.