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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Category: Cognitive Effects Research Group

KEG publishes “Navigating a Diverse Paradigm: A Conceptual Framework for Experimental Framing Effects Research”

New article “Navigating a Diverse Paradigm: A Conceptual Framework for Experimental Framing Effects Research” in the journal Review of Communication Research from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: This review introduces a conceptual framework with three elements to highlight the richness of the framing effects literature, while providing structure to address its fragmented nature. Our first element identifies and discusses the Enduring Issues that confront framing effects researchers. Second, we introduce the Semantic Architecture Model (SAM), which builds on the premise that meaning can be framed at different textual units within a text, which can form the basis of frame manipulations in framing effects experiments. Third, we provide an Inventory of Framing Effects Research Components used in framing effects research illustrated with salient examples from the framing effects literature. By offering this conceptual framework, we make the case for revitalizing framing effects research.

Full citation: McLeod, D. M., Choung, H., Su, H., Kim, S., Tao R., Liu, J., & Lee, B. (2022). Navigating a diverse paradigm: A conceptual framework for experimental framing effects research. Review of Communication Research.

Access the article: https://www.rcommunicationr.org/index.php/rcr/article/view/83

New article from KEG “Exploring Numerical Framing Effects: The Interaction Effects of Gain/Loss Frames and Numerical Presentation Formats on Message Comprehension, Emotion, and Perceived Issue Seriousness”

New article “Exploring Numerical Framing Effects: The Interaction Effects of Gain/Loss Frames and Numerical Presentation Formats on Message Comprehension, Emotion, and Perceived Issue Seriousness” in the journal Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: Statistical information permeates media messages, but little is known about how the use of different presentation formats influences message processing. Thus, we explore numerical framing effects by examining how presentation formats interact with gain/loss frames to alter message processing and issue perceptions. We found that logically equivalent information embedded in gain/loss frames generated different levels of comprehension when it was presented in a frequency format. The gap, however, disappeared when it was displayed in a percentage format. Different comprehension levels then shaped negative emotions differently, which in turn affected perceived issue seriousness. Mediational analyses tentatively suggest that numerical framing occurred through cognitive and emotional responses. The implications are discussed.

Full citation: Lee B, Liu J, Choung H, McLeod DM. Exploring Numerical Framing Effects: The Interaction Effects of Gain/Loss Frames and Numerical Presentation Formats on Message Comprehension, Emotion, and Perceived Issue Seriousness. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 2021;98(2):387-406. doi:10.1177/1077699020934195

Access the article: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1077699020934195

New article from KEG “The Effects of Framing and Advocacy Expectancy on Belief Importance and Issue Attitude”

New article “The Effects of Framing and Advocacy Expectancy on Belief Importance and Issue Attitude” in the journal Mass Communication and Society from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: Message frames have been found to influence relevant issue attitudes by influencing the weight of issue considerations emphasized in the message. As such message frames often originate from advocacy interest groups, this study investigates differences in the framing effects of advocacy groups, depending on whether the message fits readers’ expectations for the communicators’ issue position (expected advocacy) or not (unexpected advocacy). Across two issue topics, findings suggest that unexpected advocacy significantly influenced readers’ perceived belief importance, which in turn influenced issue attitudes, whereas the same mediated path of framing effects was not supported in the case of expected advocacy.

Full citation: Liu, J., Su, M. H., McLeod, D. M., Abisaid, J., & Lu, L. (2020). The effects of framing and advocacy expectancy on belief importance and issue attitude. Mass Communication and Society, 23:4, 537-553.

Access the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15205436.2020.1728776?journalCode=hmcs20

KEG publishes new article “Reconceptualizing cognitive media effects theory and research under the judged usability model”

New article “Reconceptualizing cognitive media effects theory and research under the judged usability model” in the journal Review of Communication Research from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: This review synthesizes the existing literature on cognitive media effects, including agenda setting, framing, and priming, in order to identify their similarities, differences, and inherent commonalities. Based on this review, we argue that the theory and research on each of these cognitive effects share a common view that media affect audience members by influencing the relative importance of considerations used to make subsequent judgments (including their answers to post-exposure survey questions). In reviewing this literature, we note that one important factor is often ignored, the extent to which a consideration featured in the message is deemed usable for a given subsequent judgment, a factor called judged usability, which may be an important mediator of cognitive media effects like agenda setting, framing and priming. Emphasizing judged usability leads to the revelation that media coverage may not just elevate a particular consideration, but may also actively suppress a consideration, rendering it less usable for subsequent judgments, opening a new avenue for cognitive effects research. In the interest of integrating these strands of cognitive effects research, we propose the Judged Usability Model as a revision of past cognitive models.

Full citation: Lee, B., & McLeod, D. M. (2020). Reconceptualizing cognitive media effects theory and research under the judged usability model. Review of Communication Research, 8, 17-50.

Access the article: https://www.rcommunicationr.org/index.php/rcr/article/view/65

New publication “Beyond the Notion of Accessibility Bias: Message Content as the Common Source of Agenda-Setting and Priming Effects” from KEG

New article “Beyond the Notion of Accessibility Bias: Message Content as the Common Source of Agenda-Setting and Priming Effects” in the journal Mass Communication and Society from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: This study examines the cognitive mechanisms behind agenda-setting and priming effects. Recent evidence suggests that accessibility effects within network models of memory are not well suited to explain agenda-setting and priming effects. This article attempts to provide additional evidence regarding the roles of issue accessibility and message content in agenda-setting and priming processes. Our findings indicate that changes in issue accessibility are not a sufficient condition for agenda-setting and priming effects. Instead, the content of mediated messages that validates an issue as a matter of public concern is shown to be the primary explanation of agenda-setting and priming effects. Different psychological processes observed in social psychological studies and political communication studies as well as theoretical relationships between agenda setting and priming are discussed.

Full citation: Lee, B., Liu, J., Choung, H., & McLeod, D. M. (2020). Beyond the notion of accessibility bias: Message content as the common source of agenda-setting and priming effects. Mass Communication and Society, 23:4, 554-577.

Access the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15205436.2019.1708403?journalCode=hmcs20

KEG publishes “Counter-Framing Effects of User Comments”

New article “Counter-Framing Effects of User Comments” in the International Journal of Communication from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: Past research shows that news frames shape audience reactions to news messages. As individuals receive more of their news online, where many news messages are accompanied by opportunities for audience members to comment, it has become important to investigate how such comments influence message framing effects, especially when they compete with the original news article. Therefore, this study examines the framing effects of user comments opposing a news editorial by directly challenging the editorial or featuring an alternative perspective to view the issue in focus. Findings demonstrate that the nature and tone of counter-framed comments can influence the editorial’s impact.

Full citation: Liu, J., & McLeod, D. M. (2019). Counter-framing effects of user comments. International Journal of Communication, 13, 2484-2503.

Access the article: https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/11392

New article from KEG “Pathways to news commenting and the removal of the comment system on news websites”

New article “Pathways to news commenting and the removal of the comment system on news websites” in the journal Journalism from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: Many major news websites have recently opted to remove comment sections that appear beneath their online news articles. However, researchers know very little about how news audiences feel about the silencing of this interactive feature. Our study analyzes data from adult Internet users in the United States in an online survey to provide empirical evidence regarding motivations underlying different engagement in news comment systems and attitudes of news readers toward comment system removal. Overall, findings suggest that compared to non-users, people who read or post comments are more likely to oppose removal. Moreover, comments removal attitude is dependent on motives of using news comment sections. Information-seeking motives are negatively related to the support for comments removal among lurkers, whereas affective socialization motives are positive predictors of comment system removal among commenters.

Full citation: Liu, J., & McLeod, D. M. (2019). Pathways to news commenting and the removal of the comment system on news websites. Journalism.

Access the article: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1464884919849954

KEG publishes “Effects of Frame Repetition Through Cues in the Online Environment”

New article “Effects of Frame Repetition Through Cues in the Online Environment” in the journal Mass Communication and Society from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: Research has shown that message frames can shape a reader’s subsequent judgments on political issues. In the online news environment, additional cues outside the story may be present that can affect the power of the frame. This online experiment investigates the role of repetitive cues in the framing processes using news editorials and their accompanying recommended headlines that repeat the editorial’s frame. Results suggest that regarding issue-related attitudes and emotions, consistent frame repetition reinforced the effects of the original article when the frame’s relevance to the readers was high but undermined the article’s impact when the relevance was low. Implications for framing studies and online news consumption are discussed.

Full citation: Liu, J., Lee, B., McLeod, D. M., & Choung, H. (2019). Effects of frame repetition through cues in the online environment. Mass Communication & Society, 22, 447-465.

Access the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15205436.2018.1560475

KEG publishes “Framing Risk with Numbers: The Framing Effects of Risk Assertions and Number Formats on Emotions and Risk Perceptions”

New article “Framing Risk with Numbers: The Framing Effects of Risk Assertions and Number Formats on Emotions and Risk Perceptions” in the journal Mass Communication and Society from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: This study examines how risk assertions and relevant statistics presented in different number formats interact to influence emotional and cognitive outcomes. Experimental news stories present risk assertions that highlight either safety from or vulnerability to violent crime; these assertions are accompanied by crime statistics in absolute frequency, simple fraction, or percentage format. Although it may be tempting to assume that national statistics in absolute frequency format create a greater impression due to the sheer size of the numbers, our results show that only probability formats, including simple fractions and percentages, interact with assertions to generate amplified emotions. Furthermore, we find that negative emotions play a mediating role in producing pessimistic risk assessments. Our findings reveal how people process numerical information and its impact on emotional and cognitive responses. This article also discusses the empirical and methodological implications for framing research, as well as cognitive aspects of emotional reactions and the nature of emotional effects on risk perceptions.

Full citation: Lee, B., Liu, J., Choung, H., & McLeod, D. M. (2019). Framing risk with numbers: The framing effects of risk assertions and number formats on emotions and risk perceptions. Mass Communication & Society, 22, 344-364.

Access the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15205436.2018.1536790?journalCode=hmcs20

New KEG publication “Pathways to News Sharing: Issue Frame Perceptions and the Likelihood of Sharing”

New article “Pathways to News Sharing: Issue Frame Perceptions and the Likelihood of Sharing” in the journal Computers in Human Behavior from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG).

Abstract: Online news sharing has become an important process through which contemporary citizens experience news. Sharing is not only a behavioral outcome of news consumption but also an essential form of political engagement that reshapes the online information environment. This study offers empirical evidence regarding important article perceptions that drive online news sharing. Specifically, we examine how issue frame perceptions shape user-directed dissemination of news information. Using an online survey that exposes respondents to multiple news articles on a given public issue, this study found that perceptions of issue frame believability, bias, importance and influence significantly affected audience intention to share a news article. However, perceiving an issue frame to be believable alone is not sufficient for readers to forward that article. Moreover, these frame perceptions are formed through the lens of one’s political ideology. The relationship between issue frame perceptions and the likelihood of sharing is more pronounced for value-based frames and among partisans. Implications for online political participation and news exposure are discussed.

Full citation: Su, M. H., Liu, J., & McLeod, D. M. (2019). Pathways to news sharing: Issue frame perceptions and the likelihood of sharing. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 201-210.

Access the article: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327857416_Pathways_to_News_Sharing_Issue_Frame_Perceptions_and_the_Likelihood_of_Sharing