Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

News & Publications

CBB researchers give a talk to Ford’s Global Communications Team

Communication, Brain and Behavior (CBB) lab faculty leader Chris Cascio and Matt Minich gave a talk to Ford’s Global Communications Team about the neuroscience behind persuasion and influence. The talk was an opportunity for researchers and industry to learn from each other about the ways we approach communications and the issues we face in a quickly evolving technology and digital media environment.

CBB faculty leader Chris Cascio elected vice chair of ICA Communication Science & Biology group

Communication, Brain and Behavior (CBB) lab faculty leader assistant professor Chris Cascio has been elected as vice chair of the International Communication Association’s Communication Science & Biology interest group. The election saw 26% voter turnout. Fellow leadership elected include student and early career representative Shelby Wilcox of Michigan State University and international liasion Ralf Schmaelzle of Michigan State University See all election results here.

News article featuring CBB researchers in Bloomberg Businessweek

A new article in Bloomberg Businessweek by Sarah McBride “What My Brain Scan Revealed About the Science of Persuasion” features Communication, Brain and Behavior (CBB) Lab leader Chris Cascio and PhD student Matt Minich. In the article, the author speaks with Cascio and Minich about the neuroscience behind persuasive messages and what areas of the brain are critical to changing people’s minds. Read the full article here.

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

UW Team Publishes “Polarization Over Vaccination: Ideological Differences in Twitter Expression About COVID-19”

New article “Polarization Over Vaccination: Ideological Differences in Twitter Expression About COVID-19 Vaccine Favorability and Specific Hesitancy Concerns” in the journal Social Media + Society from the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal. Continue reading

New HITS publication “Prospective Prediction of Lapses in Opioid Use Disorder: Protocol for a Personal Sensing Study”

New article “Prospective Prediction of Lapses in Opioid Use Disorder: Protocol for a Personal Sensing Study” in JMIR Research Protocols from the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group. Continue reading

New CCCR publication “Free and Fair? The Differential Experiences of Voting Barriers and Voting Policies in American Midterm Elections”

New article “Free and Fair? The Differential Experiences of Voting Barriers and Voting Policies in American Midterm Elections” in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research from the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal (CCCR). Abstract: In this research note, we provide evidence about burdens people face when voting and who benefits from policies designed to mitigate those burdens. Using pre-and-post 2018 midterm elections panel surveys in Wisconsin, we show that Black voters estimate greater time getting to the polls and Hispanic voters report longer wait times once they are there. Regarding who takes advantage of policies purported to ease these … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

ICRG publishes “Perceiving Immigrants as a Threat: A Motivational Approach to False Consensus”

In the new article “Perceiving Immigrants as a Threat: A Motivational Approach to False Consensus” in the journal Communication Research, the International Communication Research Group explores perceived threat of immigration as a motivational factor that mediates the relation between political ideology and false consensus, an overestimation of the frequency of one’s beliefs. Study results, show that conservatives are more sensitive to outgroup threat and thus are more likely to overestimate public consensus for their attitudes on immigration than their ideological counterparts. Abstract: False consensus, or biased projection of one’s opinion onto others, has repeatedly been described by political communication scholars … 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

New publication “Social Media, Messaging Apps, and Affective Polarization in the United States and Japan” from ICRG

In the new article “The Contexts of Political Participation: The Communication Mediation Model Under Varying Structural Conditions of the Public Sphere” in the International Journal of Press/Politics, the International Communication Research Group examines the communication mediation model in 17 countries with varying levels of political freedom and digital infrastructure. Results show how these factors condition voting and protest behaviors. Abstract: This study explores how emerging media platforms (i.e., social media and messaging apps) contribute to affective political polarization. We rely on cross-national data (USA and Japan), which allows us to explore the broader implications of how emerging media platforms contribute … Continue reading

New from ICRG “The Contexts of Political Participation: The Communication Mediation Model Under Varying Structural Conditions of the Public Sphere”

In the new article “The Contexts of Political Participation: The Communication Mediation Model Under Varying Structural Conditions of the Public Sphere” in the International Journal of Press/Politics, the International Communication Research Group examines the communication mediation model in 17 countries with varying levels of political freedom and digital infrastructure. Results show how these factors condition voting and protest behaviors. Abstract:The communication mediation model asserts that the effects of news use on political participation are mostly indirect, mediated through discussion. Recent research has shown that this mediation process is stronger in countries where freedom of the press and expression are also … Continue reading

SMAD group publishes “Resonant Moments in Media Events: Discursive Shifts, Agenda Control, and Twitter Dynamics”

In the new article “Resonant Moments in Media Events: Discursive Shifts, Agenda Control, and Twitter Dynamics in the First Clinton-Trump Debate” in the Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media, the Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) group found key differences in social media discourse about the two candidates during the first 2016 U.S. presidential debate. Continue reading

HITS publishes “Effect of an eHealth Intervention on Older Adults’ Quality of Life, Independence, and Health-Related Outcomes”

In the new article “Effect of an eHealth Intervention on Older Adults’ Quality of Life, Independence, and Health-Related Outcomes: A Randomized Clinical Trial” in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group studied the effectiveness of an eHealth intervention designed to improve quality of life for older adults. 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

SMAD group publishes “Death Across the News Spectrum: A Time Series Analysis of Partisan Coverage Following Mass Shootings in the U.S.”

In the new article “Death Across the News Spectrum: A Time Series Analysis of Partisan Coverage Following Mass Shootings in the U.S.” in the International Journal of Communication, the Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) group analyzed news coverage following mass shooting events. Continue reading

New from ICRG “What Motivates People to Correct Misinformation? Examining the Effects of Third-person Perceptions”

In the new article “What Motivates People to Correct Misinformation? Examining the Effects of Third-person Perceptions and Perceived Norms” in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, the International Communication Research Group relates the third-person perception (TPP) and perceived norms, with people’s intentions to correct misinformation online. Abstract:Studies have suggested that rumors may ultimately be “self-corrected” by online crowds. Following the previous literature, we explored how two perceptual factors, including the third-person perception (TPP) and perceived norms, predict people’s intentions to correct misinformation online. Our findings show that people’s corrective intentions are positively associated with both factors. While previous scholarship … Continue reading

CBB Article One of the Most Downloaded of 2020

An article co-authored by Communication, Brain and Behavior (CBB) Lab faculty leader Chris Cascio in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience was one of the journal’s most downloaded of 2020. Continue reading

New HITS publication “Effect of a Mobile-Health Intervention (A-CHESS) on Hepatitis C Testing Uptake Among People with Opioid Use Disorder”

In the new article “Effect of a Mobile-Health Intervention (A-CHESS) on Hepatitis C Testing Uptake Among People with Opioid Use Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial” in the journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group conducted an RCT to test the effectiveness of a mobile health intervention to increase hepatitis C virus awareness among people dealing with opioid use disorder. Abstract The growing epidemic of opioid use disorder (OUD) and associated injection drug use has resulted in a surge of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Approximately half of the people with HCV infection are unaware … Continue reading

New HITS article “A Web-based eHealth Intervention to Improve Quality of Life for Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions”

In the new article “A Web-based eHealth Intervention to Improve Quality of Life for Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial” in the journal JMIR Research Protocols, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group studied the effectiveness of an eHealth intervention designed to improve quality of life for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. Continue reading

New article from CCCR “Understanding Trump Supporters’ News Use: Beyond the Fox News Bubble”

In the new article “Understanding Trump Supporters’ News Use: Beyond the Fox News Bubble” in the journal The Forum, the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal (CCCR) group finds that many Trump supporters’ media consumption tends to be more omnivorous than solely Fox News. Continue reading

CCCR publishes “News Media Use, Talk Networks and Anti-Elitism Across Geographic Location: Evidence from Wisconsin”

In the new article “News Media Use, Talk Networks and Anti-Elitism Across Geographic Location: Evidence from Wisconsin” in the journal International Journal of Press/Politics, the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal (CCCR) group explores media consumption behaviors based on an individual’s geographic place. Continue reading

HITS publishes “The Effects of Online Social Connectedness on Older Adults’ Depressive Symptoms”

In the new article “The Effects of Online Social Connectedness on Older Adults’ Depressive Symptoms: Evidence from a Two-Wave Cross-lagged Panel Study” in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group studied the effectiveness of a support website for enhancing social connectedness on improving depressive symptoms in older adults. Continue reading

CCCR publishes “News Attention and Social Distancing Behavior Amid COVID-19”

In the new article “News Attention and Social Distancing Behavior Amid COVID-19: How Media Trust and Social Norms Moderate a Mediated Relationship” in the journal Health Communication, the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal (CCCR) group examined the relationship between news media attention and social distancing behavior. Abstract Despite the fact that social distancing is an effective mean to slow the spread of COVID-19, individuals often fail to practice this behavior. Major US news media provided information to the public about social distancing after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, potentially spurring this preventative health practice. Using data from a representative … 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

HITS publishes “Online health information seeking, medical care beliefs and timeliness of medical check-ups among African Americans”

In the new article “Online health information seeking, medical care beliefs and timeliness of medical check-ups among African Americans” in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, the Health Information and Technology Studies (HITS) group found links between technology use and positive health behaviors among African Americans. Continue reading

New publication advances research framework for digital health intervention

A new journal article from the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) team, led by “Estelle” Ranran Mi, was published in Health Communication. The paper, “Intraindividual, Dyadic, and Network Communication in a Digital Health Intervention: Distinguishing Message Exposure from Message Production,” revealed nuanced intervention effects of a smartphone-based application for addiction recovery by examining message exposure and production at different levels of communication. Continue reading

SMAD team publishes “Covering #MeToo across the News Spectrum: Political Accusation and Public Events as Drivers of Press Attention”

Furthering their research on the #MeToo movement, the Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) team has published “Covering #MeToo across the News Spectrum: Political Accusation and Public Events as Drivers of Press Attention” in The International Journal of Press/Politics. Continue reading

New article from HITS group “Framing the Clinical Encounter: Shared Decision-Making, Mammography Screening, and Decision Satisfaction”

The Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group has a new article out in the Journal of Health Communication. The article, “Framing the Clinical Encounter: Shared Decision-Making, Mammography Screening, and Decision Satisfaction” was published in October 2020. Continue reading

New ICRG article “Chatting in a mobile chamber: effects of instant messenger use on tolerance toward political misinformation among South Koreans”

In the new article “Chatting in a mobile chamber: effects of instant messenger use on tolerance toward political misinformation among South Koreans” in the Asian Journal of Communication, the International Communication Research Group explores the relationship between instant messaging (IM) app use and attitudes regarding political falsehoods. Using a nationally representative sample of South Korean adults, path analysis reveals that network homogeneity indirectly predicts citizens’ tolerant attitudes toward misinformation, through frequency of real-time chat app use for political communication. Abstract:Amid growing scholarly interest in identifying potential explanations for the persistence of fake news from an international context, this study explores … Continue reading

New HITS article “Understanding How e-Health Intervention Meets Psychosocial Needs of Breast Cancer Patients”

In the new article “Understanding How e-Health Intervention Meets Psychosocial Needs of Breast Cancer Patients: The Pathways of Influence on Quality of Life and Cancer Concerns” in the journal Psycho-Oncology, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group found that using e-health interventions can help patients improve cancer information management skills and emotional functioning, contributing to better short-term health outcomes. 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

New HITS publication “Potential Influences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Drug Use and HIV Care”

In the new article “Potential Influences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Drug Use and HIV Care Among People Living with HIV and Substance Use Disorders: Experience from a Pilot mHealth Intervention” in the journal AIDS and Behavior, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group examined the health and social consequences of the pandemic on people with HIV and substance use disorder. Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

ICRG publishes “‘Fake News Is Anything They Say!’ — Conceptualization and Weaponization of Fake News among the American Public”

In the new article ““Fake News Is Anything They Say!” — Conceptualization and Weaponization of Fake News among the American Public” in the journal Mass Communication and Society, the International Communication Research Group examines the articulation of public opinion about so-called fake news. Coding respondents’ open-ended answers about what is “fake news” we found that while some respondents adopted a politically neutral, descriptive definition, others provided a partisan, accusatory answer. Specifically, the weaponization of fake news was evident in the way respondents used the term to blame adversarial political and media targets. Perceptions of fake news prevalence, partisanship strength, and … 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

HITS publishes “Exploring the Role of Social Support in Promoting Patient Participation in Health Care Among Women with Breast Cancer”

In the new article “Exploring the Role of Social Support in Promoting Patient Participation in Health Care Among Women with Breast Cancer” in the journal Health Communication, the Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group studied how social factors influence a patient’s participation in health care. Abstract:Scholars have adopted Street’s (2003) ecological model of communication in medical encounters to investigate the factors promoting patient participation in health care. However, factors demonstrated in the ecological model were bounded in the context of medical care primarily focusing on health care providers and patients. Social factors, such as patients’ relationships and supportive communication with … Continue reading

SMAD publishes “Performing populism: Trump’s transgressive debate style and the dynamics of Twitter response” in New Media & Society

The Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) group has a new article published in New Media & Society. The article, “Performing populism: Trump’s transgressive debate style and the dynamics of Twitter response” was published in April 2020. Continue reading

SMAD group publishes “Trump, Twitter, and news media responsiveness: A media systems approach”

The Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) group has published a new article in the journal New Media and Society, titled “Trump, Twitter, and news media responsiveness: A media systems approach”. Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

CCCR publishes new article, “Do Improving Conditions Harden Partisan Preferences? Lived Experiences, Imagined Communities, and Polarized Evaluations”

The Center for Communication and Civic Renewal (CCCR) has a new article published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research titled “Do Improving Conditions Harden Partisan Preferences? Lived Experiences, Imagined Communities, and Polarized Evaluations”. The article was published in January 2020. Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

New publication: Giving and receiving social support in online substance use disorder forums: How self-efficacy moderates effects on relapse

The Health Information Technology Studies (HITS) group has published the article “Giving and receiving social support in online substance use disorder forums: How self-efficacy moderates effects on relapse” in the journal Patient Education and Counseling. Continue reading

Room 5013 Vilas Hall rededicated as Jack McLeod Seminar Room

Jack McLeod, Maier-Bascom Professor Emeritus and longtime director of the Mass Communication Research Center, was honored with the rededication of Room 5013 of Vilas Hall as the Jack M. McLeod Roundtable Seminar Room. Professor McLeod has been a mentor to many luminaries and leaders in communication research and education, while at the same time making fundamental contributions to political communication, public opinion, media psychology, and mass communication research, and, of course, research methods. McLeod has a 38-year career in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, after joining the UW faculty in 1962. He shaped the School of Journalism and … Continue reading

Rojas Publishes in Nature Human Behaviour on “Taming the Digital Information Tide”

Sebastián Valenzuela, Associate Professor in the School of Communications, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and Hernando Rojas, Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison published their commentary piece, “Taming the Digital Information Tide to Promote Equality,” in the August 2019 issue of Nature Human Behaviour.  They argue that Interactive technologies are changing the ways we learn facts, develop attitudes and participate in politics, with the ensuing risk of increasing pre-existing inequalities. Addressing this challenge is the duty of researchers, technology companies, governments, and news organizations. They write, “political stratification is … Continue reading

SMAD Team Published on #MeToo Movement in Social Science Computer Review

Researchers in the Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) group published their paper, “#MeToo, Networked Acknowledgment, and Connective Action: How Empowerment Through Empathy Launched a Social Movement,” in Social Science Computer Review. The study, led by doctoral candidate Jiyoun Suk, focuses on how sharing #MeToo experiences on Twitter created “a network of acknowledgment” that drove “calls for action” across a range of spaces. Employing natural language processing and network analysis, the SMAD team analyzed 5-months of Twitter posts following the Weinstein accusations. The research finds that the story sharing and affirmation of “networked acknowledgment” tweets waned over time but “activism” tweets … Continue reading

Knight Gives $1.0 Million for Center for Communication and Civic Renewal

Researchers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been awarded a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to establish the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal. Professors Lew Friedland, Dhavan Shah and Mike Wagner, along with collaborators in the Department of Political Science (Katherine Cramer), Department of Statistics (Karl Rohe), the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (William Sethares), and Boston University (Chris Wells) are co-principal investigators on the project. The research team seeks to understand the state of politics and communication in Wisconsin over the last … Continue reading

Shah and Curtin Win $3.4 Million NIH Grant to Support Opioid Recovery

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison have received a $3.42 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a mobile phone-based app to prevent opioid relapse among those trying to recover. The project builds on the prior work that Dhavan Shah, Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom Professor in UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and John Curtin, director of clinical training in Department of Psychology, have done detecting and predicting relapse. The broad goals of this project are to develop and deliver models to forecast the day-by-day probability of opioid and other drug use among people trying … Continue reading

Rojas publishes “A Call to Contextualize Public Opinion-Based Research in Political Communication”

Faculty Leader of the International Communication Research Group (ICRG) Hernando Rojas is the co-author on a new article, “A Call to Contextualize Public Opinion-Based Research in Political Communication” in the journal Poltical Communication, published in October 2019. Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

New Publication: “Political tolerance of demobilizing armed actors: The case of FARC in Colombia”

Co-authored by International Communication Research Group (ICRG) Faculty Leader Hernando Rojas, the article “Political tolerance of demobilizing armed actors: The case of FARC in Colombia” was published in the journal Online First in September 2019. Continue reading

Populism Conference Website Launched with Presentation Videos

The website featuring the collection of presentations and reflections on communication and populism from our “Communication, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy” conference is now available (link to website).  In Spring 2018, the Civic Culture and Contention Politics Group, with support from the UW’s Center for European Studies, hosted an international symposium and workshop exploring how democracies across Europe and the Americas are responding to the rise of populism and its roots in communication. Speakers considered how growing polarization and fragmentation in the media ecology, as reflected in partisan media, broadcast content, political advertising and social media, has contributed to ideological and … Continue reading

SMAD Team Publishes “Whose Lives Matter?” in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Researchers in the Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) group had their paper, “Whose Lives Matter? Mass Shootings and Social Media Discourses of Sympathy and Policy, 2012-2014,” published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, the highest ranked journal in the field of communications. The study, led by doctoral candidate Yini Zhang, focuses on the outpouring of sympathy in response to mass shootings and the subsequent contestation over gun policy on Twitter from 2012 to 2014 and relates these discourses to features of mass shooting events. The authors use two approaches to Twitter text analysis— hashtag grouping and machine learning—to triangulate an … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

CCCP Answers “What Makes Wisconsin Swing?”

What makes Wisconsin a Swing State, and what causes it to swing to the right or the left? Mike Wagner, Jiyoun Suk, and others working as part of the Civic Culture and Contentious Politics (CCCP) team distill research from 2012 to 2018 to understand how heterogeneous communication flows can open people to candidates from other parties, softening attitudes toward candidates from opposing parties and drive split ticket voting. First using data from several 2012 Marquette Law School Polls, these researchers found that the Wisconsinites who talked more with family and friends — which tend to be more politically homogeneous groups — also … Continue reading

CCCP Publishes Op-Ed on Public Support for Nonpartisan Redistricting

Members of the Civic Culture and Contentious Politics research team published an op-ed about how Wisconsinites of both parties want nonpartisan redistricting. As the piece notes, “Legislative redistricting is one of the most important — and most contentious — issues in Wisconsin. Voters and democratic theorists alike are uncomfortable with the idea that lawmakers can choose their own voters in increasingly precise ways.” Our research team asked 1,015 Wisconsinites who they thought should control redistricting in our state: the state Legislature or an independent, nonpartisan commission. Fifty-three percent of adults said they preferred the nonpartisan commission while only 13 percent favored the … Continue reading

Computational Methods Group Meetings, Spring 2019

Computational Methods will meet every week at 3:30 PM in Grainger Hall for its Spring 2019 courses (listed below). Date Topic Tools Teacher 1-Feb Text Analysis II – quanteda quanteda (R) Josephine 8-Feb CANCELLED (Flooding) 15-Feb Reporting Results – LaTeX LateX Chuan 22-Feb Intro to Python, Syntax and Data Structures pandas (Python) Zhongkai 1-Mar Unsupervised ML – LDA Topic Modeling topicmodels (R) Jiyoun 8-Mar Crossroads – No Meeting 15-Mar Unsupervised ML – Structural Topic Modeling stm (R) Chuan 22-Mar Spring Break – No Meeting 29-Mar No Meeting 5-Apr Network Analysis igraph, ggnet (R) Yini 12-Apr No Meeting 19-Apr SQL and/or BigQuery TBA 26-Apr Machine … Continue reading

SMAD Studies Trump’s Populist Debate Style and How it Shaped Twitter Response

A new study by Social Media and Democracy group researchers (link to submission) examines how Trump’s populist communication style, as manifest in his rhetorical and non-verbal approach to Presidential debates, drove reactions on social media. Using detailed verbal, tonal, and visual coding of the first U.S. presidential debate of 2016 between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to show how Trump’s transgressive style — i.e., violating normative boundaries, particularly those related to protocol and politeness, and openly displaying anger — can be operationalized from a communication standpoint and related to the “real-time” Twitter responses during the debate.  Our findings support the … Continue reading

CCCP Wins Additional $272K in Grants from Hewlett, Thompson, and Journal

The Civic Culture and Contentious Politics (CCCP) was awarded a total of $272,000 in additional grants for their research on “Communication Ecologies, Political Contention, and the Crisis of Democracy” from the Hewlett Foundation, Journal Foundation, and the Thompson Center.  This is in addition to the $411,300 the team received from the UW2020 competition.  The additional grants will allow the research group to extend its work into the 2020 presidential election cycle.  Specifically, they will continue examining how polarization and fragmentation in the Wisconsin media ecology, as reflected in talk radio, local news, political advertising, and social media, contributed to the ideological … Continue reading

HITS Team Publishes on Health Disparities

Two journal articles from the HITS (Health Information Technology Studies) team, one published in Health Communication and the other in Health Education Research, tackle the role of information technologies in health disparities. The Health Communication paper led by Juwon Hwang, “Health Information Sources, Perceived Vaccination Benefits, and Maintenance of Childhood Vaccination Schedules,” investigates the associations between evaluations of health information sources, parental perceptions of childhood vaccination benefits, and the maintenance of vaccination schedules for their children. Analyzing a sample of 4,174 parents who have at least one child under the age of 18, including 138 with a childhood autism diagnosis. The … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Cramer and Toff Win Major Awards

Katherine Cramer, MCRC Senior Fellow, and Benjamin Toff, former SMAD member, received the Heinz Eulau Award for the best article published in Perspectives on Politics in 2017 for “The Fact of Experience: Rethinking Political Knowledge and Civic Competence” (Perspectives on Politics 15(3): 754-770). The piece asserts that the emphasis on facts is misplaced in the study of political knowledge. Drawing upon three different projects involving observation of political talk and elite interviews, they observe that citizens and elites process political information through the lens of their personal experience. They propose an Expanded Model of Civic Competence that presents an alternative interpretation for what it means to be an … Continue reading

HITS Team Publishes Computational Solutions to Addiction Crisis

Two new studies published by HITS (Health Information Technologies Studies) researchers, both led by Rachel Kornfield, offer computational health communication solutions to substance abuse. The most recent study (available through Journal of Medical Internet Research) was based on an analysis of a mobile phone-based health intervention for individuals in recovery from alcohol use disorder. Human coders labeled discussion forum messages according to whether or not authors mentioned problems in their recovery process. Linguistic features of these messages were extracted via several computational techniques: (1) a Bag-of-Words approach, (2) the dictionary-based Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program, and (3) a hybrid approach combining … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

SMAD Russian Propaganda Research Wins Awards

The manuscript, “Zero Day Twitter: How Russians Propaganda Infiltrated the U.S. Hybrid Media System” received two awards at the 2018 Association in Education and Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference this August. The paper won the top paper award for the Political Communication Interest Group and was the third-place recipient of the entire conference’s inaugural Professional Relevance award. The authors of the paper consist predominantly of graduate students in affiliation with the Social Media and Democracy and Computational Methods research groups. They are: Josephine Lukito, Jiyoun Suk, Yini Zhang, Larisa Doroshenko, Sang Jung Kim, Min-Hsin Su, YIping Xia, Deen Freelon, … Continue reading

New article from KEG “Framing Obesity: Effects of Obesity Labeling and Prevalence Statistics on Public Perceptions”

New article “Framing Obesity: Effects of Obesity Labeling and Prevalence Statistics on Public Perceptions” in the journal Health Education and Behavior from the Cognitive Effects Research Group (KEG). Abstract: The rising prevalence rate of obesity in the United States has accentuated concerns about obesity-related problems as a major public health issue, which has motivated widespread efforts to increase public knowledge and to motivate individuals to change their relevant behaviors. Although health campaign messages commonly include information about prevalence rates for obesity, the impact of obesity labeling and prevalence rate descriptions in such messages has been overlooked by researchers. This online … Continue reading

UW “Contentious Politics” Group Lands $411K Grant to Study Communication and Democratic Crises in Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication scholars were rewarded in April for their cutting-edge research examining how the growing polarization and fragmentation in the Wisconsin media ecology, as reflected in talk radio, local news, political advertising and social media, contributed to the ideological and partisan polarization of Wisconsin citizens. UW SJMC professors Lew Friedland, Dhavan Shah, Mike Wagner, and Chris Wells are collaborating with Kathy Cramer in political science, Karl Rohe in statistics and Bill Sethares in electrical and computer engineering on the $411,000 project. The team was funded by the UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative competition for … Continue reading

The Twitter Exploit: How Russian Propaganda Infiltrated U.S. News

Click here to download the publication from the Computational Methods Group “The Twitter Exploit: How Russian Propaganda Infiltrated U.S. News”

SPEC/CIRCLE Research on Echo Chambers Presented at ICA

SPEC members Dhavan Shah, Jiyoun Suk, and Doug McLeod presented their work on how echo chambers on both the right and the left erode civic bonds at the 2018 International Communication Association meeting in Prague, May 24-28. They link this erosion of trust in institutions and groups to the rise of political polarization in American society, the proliferation of partisan media, and the emergence of digital media platforms that facilitate selectively curated news flows. The study employed a national panel study of millennials collected by CIRCLE at Tuft University in partnership with SPEC to explore the extent to which citizens who … Continue reading

New Research on News Exposure, Second Screening from ICRG

On perception of income inequality, shows a negative relationship with news exposure in Colombia, but also a positive link between entertainment content and citizens’ understanding of income gaps. Moreover, findings suggest that more realistic perceptions of inequality, shaped by media exposure, are positively associated with redistributive policies and participation behaviors. Link.   On second screening, provides evidence of persistent digital divides in terms of ICT access, ICT use, and second screening for news. This study examines how socioeconomic status (SES) relates to the adoption of second screening practices and explores the consequences of divides for democratic engagement. Link.

PACE Lab uncovers roots of hostile media perception

The Physiology and Communication Effects (PACE) Lab’s 2017 data collection examining the psychophysiological roots of thehostile media perception will be presented at the International Communication Association conference in Prague in May, 2018. “The Affective and Physiological Underpinning of Hostile Media Perception: Perceptions of Media Accuracy and Influence” reports the result of an experiment in which 106 participants viewed a media statement from a fictional member of Congress that varied, by experimental condition, the extremity of language used by the congressperson. Results indicate that even when controlling for self-reported emotions, the hostile media perception can be explained, in part, by the physiological … Continue reading

VGRG Publishes in Entertainment Computing

Karyn Riddle, Zhen Di, Sunghak Kim, Eunyoung Myung, Swee Kiat Tay, and Fangxin Xu published their study, “The unexpected comfort of wearing headphones: Emotional and cognitive effects of headphone use when playing a bloody video game,” in Entertainment Computing. The study tested the theory of vivid media violence, exploring whether the presence of blood in a violent game and the use of headphones impacts emotions (frustration, fear, anxiety) and the level of cognitive elaboration. Results of an experiment suggest participants felt stronger negative emotions when playing a bloody game with headphones off. When the video game was not bloody, headphones did not affect emotions. In addition, … Continue reading

MCRC Team Conducts Online Experiments About Message Accuracy

The MCRC 2017-2018 research team has developed two parallel online experiments examining citizen information processing and judgments about message accuracy. Project 1 compares the priming effects of different ways of presenting fact-checking articles. It examines the perceived value and perceived influence of fact-checking, as well knowledge accuracy regarding e-cigarettes. Project 2 examines priming effects of digital literacy materials on audiences’ motivation and capability to detect fake Twitter accounts. Moreover, it investigates the effect of pre-existing values and political orientations on judgments about information veracity.

HITS Researchers Involved in New $4.2 Million NIH Grant

The two-thirds of Medicare patients being treated for at least three chronic health problems account for a stunning 90 percent of Medicare spending. UW-Madison researchers received a $4.2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant through the UW–Madison’s Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS).  The team working on the grant includes David Gustafson, Jane Mahoney, Randy Brown, Louise Mares, and Dhavan Shah. They wil develop a new e-health intervention called Chronic Condition Health Enhancement Support System, or C-CHESS that builds upon the success of previous CHESS applications for conditions like cancer, asthma and alcoholism. They will recruit 330 older … Continue reading

SMAD Research Featured in Washington Post

The Social Media and Democracy group’s research on social media discourse after mass shootings was featured in the Washington Post! The report summarizes the results of the analysis of 1.3 million tweets and 700 related hashtags related to mass shootings.  SMAD researchers found that the emotional expressions that immediately followed mass shootings, typified by phrases like “thoughts and prayers,” were short lived.  In contrast, posts advocating gun control became more prevalent in the online debate, varying in intensity depending on whether the victims were women and children (more volume) or had higher proportions of African-American victims (less volume). This faded … Continue reading

CCCP Hosts Communication and Populism Symposium

The Civic Culture and Contention Politics Group, with support from the UW’s Center for European Studies, hosted an international symposium and workshop entitled “Communication, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy.” The symposium explored how democracies across Europe and the Americas are in crisis due to the rise of populism, spurred by the perceived lack of legitimacy of existing processes and institutions in the eyes of vast numbers of their citizens. Speakers considered how growing polarization and fragmentation in the media ecology, as reflected in partisan media, broadcast content, political advertising and social media, has contributed to ideological and partisan political … Continue reading

MCRC Research 2016-2017

MCRC’s 2016-2017 project conducted a national survey of American citizens on the eve of 2016 presidential election. Data were collected on citizens’ political ideology, values, and worldviews, issue positions, and voting behaviors. A series of cluster analysis identified voter types based on a host of enduring values and worldviews. Results revealed interesting patterns of association between and among partisan and independent voters. Interestingly, the clusters grouped together voters across traditional party and ideological boundaries, indicating that even in this era of political polarization, American citizens have more in common than we might think. Results from this study have been presented … Continue reading

Computational Methods Group Meetings, Spring 2018

Computational Methods will meet every other week at 3:30 PM in the MCRC lab this semester (Spring 2018). This semester, we will be focusing on natural language processing and machine learning strategies and will have stand-along workshops for a multitude of other programs. Scheduled workshops include: 2/2/2018 – tidytext (R package), taught by Josephine Lukito 2/16/2018 – SQL Workshop, taught by Research Data Services 3/16/2018 – LaTeX workshop, taught by Chuan Liu 4/13/2018 – LDA Topic Modeling using topicmodels (R package), taught by Josephine Lukito 4/27/2018 – Structural Topic Modeling using stm (R package), taught by Chuan Liu 5/4/2018 – … Continue reading