Melanie A. Sarge

Assistant Professor
Department of Advertising

About Me

  • I love to explore – whether it is new movies and books, cities and countries, or research theory, methods, and contexts. I spend most of my time sharing my passion for research/teaching with students and colleagues and traveling to visit with family and friends.

Research Specialty

  • My research examines social psychological theories and concepts as motivational factors for selective exposure and message processing and how these elements impact the messages’ exertion of influence. My research is driven by a desire to increase both the appeal and effectiveness of messages for a target audience, which makes my work applicable to a variety of contexts. Prior and current research primarily, but not exclusively, lies in the domain of health (e.g., weight loss and HPV) and environmental (e.g., water issues and climate change) communication.

Methodological Approaches

  • Experimental
  • Survey
  • Eye-tracking
  • Content analysis
  • In-depth interviews utilizing sense-making methodology


  • Ph.D. Ohio State University, School of Communication
  • M.A. Ohio State University, School of Communication
  • B.S. University of Kentucky, Department of Communication

Graduate Courses Taught

  • Media Psychology

Professional Experience

  • I interned with a nonprofit public relations agency while finishing up my Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Kentucky. My work there involved recruiting donors, planning events and creating advertisements in order to promote city involvement. During the two years before entering graduate school at Ohio State University, I worked in retail management and marketing with Ann Taylor. As a visual and operations manager, I was in charge of developing and executing employee incentive strategies and implementing in-store marketing.


  • While in graduate school I won a top paper award for my master’s thesis, was awarded the 2010 Walter B. Emery Memorial Scholarship for outstanding graduate student research, and was a recipient of the 2012 Graduate School Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarship. My research has been presented as 18 conference papers and several pieces are published, forthcoming, or under review in refereed journals.

Recent Publications

  • Sarge, M. A. & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (forthcoming). Impacts of efficacy and exemplification in an online message about weight loss on weight management self-efficacy, satisfaction and personal importance. Journal of Health Communication.

  • Knobloch-Westerwick, S., & Sarge, M. A. (2013). Impacts of exemplification and efficacy as characteristics of an online weight loss message on selective exposure and subsequent weight loss behavior. Communication Research. doi: 10.1177/0093650213478440.

  • Krieger, J. L., & Sarge, M. A. (2013). A serial mediation model of message framing on intentions to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: Revisiting the role of threat and efficacy perceptions. Health Communication, 28(1), 5-19. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2012.734914.

  • McDonald, D. G., Sarge, M. A., Lin, S., Collier, J., & Potocki, B. (2012). A role for the self: Media content as triggers for autobiographical memories. Communication Research. doi: 10.1177/0093650212464771.

  • Krieger, J. L., Katz, M. L., Eisenberg, D., Heaner, S., Sarge, M. and Jain, P. (2011), Media coverage of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine: implications for geographic health inequities. Health Expectations. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-7625.2011.00721.x