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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research (CAMER)

The Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research (CAMER) group, directed by Sijia Yang, studies persuasive messages as they are produced, promulgated, and processed in the broader digital informational environment. Our group is particularly interested in exploring how computational methods (e.g., text mining, computer vision, algorithms, geospatial modeling) can help advance our understanding of how persuasive messaging works as it intersects with psychological processes, social dynamics, and technological affordances. Currently, we are focusing on the following lines of research: 1) visual persuasion and the feasibility of employing computer vision techniques to predict and explain the persuasiveness and share-worthiness of pictorial substance control messages (e.g., emerging tobacco products, recreational use of cannabis); 2) the temporal and geospatial dynamics of moral appeals and their persuasive impacts around emerging and oftentimes controvertial health issues (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination, CRISPR); 3) misinformation classification and correction, especially the joint impacts of messages and social dynamics on peer fact-checking; 4) just-in-time message tailoring in mhealth interventions (e.g., opioid addiction treatment, COVID-19 mitigation); and 5) the persuasiveness of positive appeals (e.g., hope, transcendence). Faculty Leader: Sijia Yang

Recent News and Posts

New grant for CAMER faculty lead Sijia Yang

New grant awarded by ICTR to CAMER faculty lead Sijia Yang and his team to help reduce vaccine hesitancy in rural communities in Wisconsin and beyond. Yang serves as co-investigator. Stakeholder and Patient Engaged Research Pilot Award Community Co-Design and Pilot Test of Public Health Messages Addressing Pediatric Vaccine Hesitancy in Rural America Malia Jones, PhD; College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Academic Collaborators: Susan Passmore, UW SMPH; Sijia Yang, School of Journalism and Mass Communication UW Program Partners: UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity Community Collaborators: Wisconsin Head Start Association, Wisconsin Council of Churches, Southwestern WI Community Action Program … Continue reading

CAMER publishes new article “How Climate Movement Actors and News Media Frame Climate Change and Strike: Evidence from Analyzing Twitter and News Media Discourse from 2018 to 2021”

In the new article “How Climate Movement Actors and News Media Frame Climate Change and Strike: Evidence from Analyzing Twitter and News Media Discourse from 2018 to 2021” in The International Journal of Press and Politics, the Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research group used a comprehensive Twitter dataset to investigate how the climate movement is framed on Twitter and they analyze the evolution of frames over time against the backdrop of critical events. Abstract: Twitter enables an online public sphere for social movement actors, news organizations, and others to frame climate change and the climate movement. In this paper, … Continue reading

New article from CAMER “Textual and pictorial enhancement of cannabis warning labels: An Online experiment among at-risk U.S. young adults”

In the new article “Textual and pictorial enhancement of cannabis warning labels: An Online experiment among at-risk U.S. young adults” in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research group examines whether enhanced cannabis warning labels (CWLs) outperform those currently required in the U.S. in improving recall of health risks, emotional responses, and perceived message effectiveness among at-risk young adults. Abstract: Background This study experimentally examines whether enhanced cannabis warning labels (CWLs) outperform those currently required in the U.S. in improving recall of health risks, emotional responses, and perceived message effectiveness among at-risk young adults. … Continue reading

CAMER Faculty Lead Sijia Yang Receives Exceptional Service Support Award

Sijia Yang, Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has received an Exceptional Service Support award from the Office of the Provost. Continue reading

New publication “Algorithmic Agents in the Hybrid Media System: Social Bots, Selective Amplification, and Partisan News about COVID-19” from CAMER

In the new article “Algorithmic Agents in the Hybrid Media System: Social Bots, Selective Amplification, and Partisan News about COVID-19” in the journal Human Communication Research, the Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research group employed bot detection techniques, structural topic modeling, and time series analysis to characterize the temporal associations between the topics Twitter bots tend to amplify and subsequent news coverage across the partisan spectrum. Abstract: Social bots, or algorithmic agents that amplify certain viewpoints and interact with selected actors on social media, may influence online discussion, news attention, or even public opinion through coordinated action. Previous research has … Continue reading

Researchers Win Grant to Combat Misinformation About COVID and Elections

A team of researchers has received a $750,000 grant from the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator to study methods of combating misinformation online. Continue reading

CAMER publishes “Twitter as research data: Tools, costs, skill sets, and lessons learned”

In the new article “Twitter as research data: Tools, costs, skill sets, and lessons learned” in the journal Politics and the Life Sciences, the Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research (CAMER) group evaluates Twitter data collection tools in terms of costs, training, and data quality as a means to introduce Twitter data as a research tool Abstract: Scholars increasingly use Twitter data to study the life sciences and politics. However, Twitter data collection tools often pose challenges for scholars who are unfamiliar with their operation. Equally important, although many tools indicate that they offer representative samples of the full Twitter … Continue reading

Yang Co-Investigator on Two New Grants to Study Vaccine Hesitancy

Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research (CAMER) group faculty leader Sijia Yang is a co-investigator on two new grants. The grants will fund projects researching vaccine hesitancy The first grant is funded by the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research through the Clinical and Community Outcomes Research Pilot Awards mechanism. Promoting COVID Vaccine Acceptance for Safety Net Providers and Patients in Wisconsin Susan Passmore, PhD, School of Medicine and Public Health Academic Collaborators: Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, SoE & SMPH; Sijia Yang, L&S UW Program Partners: Collaborative Center for Health Equity Community Collaborators: Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (Stephanie Harrison, Sashikala … Continue reading

MCRC Faculty Leaders Win 2020 Fall Research Competition Grant

MCRC Faculty Leaders Chris Cascio, Communication, Brain and Behavior (CBB) Lab Faculty Leader, and Sijia Yang, Computational Approaches and Message Effects Research (CAMER) Group Faculty Leader, are co-PIs on a new project, “Developing and Testing the Impacts of Cannabis Prevention Messages for At-Risk Young Adults”. They have received funding for their proposal submitted to the 2020 Fall Research Competition. Abstract: The proliferation of legalizing recreational use of cannabis products, combined with shifted public perceptions and youth-appealing marketing has put young adults at high risk for cannabis use initiation and progression into disorder. Despite that early onset of regular cannabis use is … Continue reading

New Fact-Checking Projects Focus on Combating COVID-19 Misinformation

With information about COVID-19 rapidly circulating online, it can be difficult to determine what’s true and what’s not. Social media has made it even easier for misinformation and disinformation to spread unchecked. Knowing whether a claim or a source is reputable can be daunting, even for the savviest media consumers. As the UW-Madison community of students, faculty and staff begin to plan their return to campus, having a verified and reliable source for information will be crucial to maintaining everyone’s health and safety. One such source is the COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect app. Developed by a collaboration of campus groups, COVID-19 … Continue reading

The Wisconsin Idea in Action: MCRC Group Collaborates on COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect App

The University of Wisconsin has a long tradition of quality education, strong community and dedicated service. These principles are all key to the Wisconsin Idea: that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom. At the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, our faculty and students consistently and creatively exemplify the Wisconsin Idea in their classes, research, projects and more. Through collaboration within the department and with others throughout the University, SJMC is committed to having a positive impact in our community. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of more than 30 faculty, staff … Continue reading