Texas Tech University

Media Psychophysiology

Media Psychophysiology

Communication researchers have long used a variety of tools like questionnaires, interviews, or focus groups to study how people respond to media messages. Media psychophysiology takes a different approach—measuring biological responses to messages in order to understand viewers' cognitive and emotional processing of video, audio, or print messages. This cutting-edge approach allows researchers to better understand the psychology behind designing effective messages in a variety of contexts such as advertising, news, entertainment, and health messaging. The College of Media & Communication is home to some of the country's leading experts in media psychophysiology as well as the premier research facility for measuring biometric response to media.

Understanding How Viewers Process Anti-Drug PSAs

Public service announcements, or PSAs, have been used for decades to warn television viewers about the dangers of drugs, smoking, or alcohol abuse. But research from Dr. Justin Keene and his collaborators at Texas Tech helps explain how the content in those PSAs can be arranged to make them more effective. Using a variety of biometric indicators, media psychophysiology, their research helps shine a light on how emotional response to PSAs unfolds over time. Read the full article.

How Family Co-Viewing Impacts Children's Responses to Television

Times have changed since the entire family gathered together to watch the “Ed Sullivan Show” together, but co-viewing is still an important part of making sure kids have healthy viewing habits. Pioneering research from College of Media & Communication demonstrates just how much watching TV as a family impacts the viewing experience. Their research used psychophysiological measures of emotional and cognitive processing and demonstrated significant differences in children's response when parents were in the room. Read the full article.

Understanding Narrative Engagement Through Psychophysiology

We can all related to getting “sucked in” to a good story. Communication scholars call this narrative engagement, and research from public relations professor Dr. Paul Bolls helps explain the cognitive processing that goes on when viewers are engaged in a good story. By measuring heart rate, sweat activity, and facial muscle activation, he and his collaborators were able to identify the biological signals that embody this common experience. Read the full article.

Using Media Psychophysiology to Understand Anti-Smoking PSAs

Quitting smoking is hard, and PSAs designed to warn people about the dangers of smoking can generate mixed results. One reason for this is the different approaches used in these PSAs, and research from public relations professor Dr. Paul Bolls explores how these different tactics impacts emotional response and attention to these messages, as well as what people remember about what they've seen. Read the full article.

Making Sports Exciting Through Instant Replay

For many of us, nothing is as exciting as a last-minute touchdown or buzzer beater to win the big game. But those who produce sportscasts work hard to make their broadcasts as entertaining as possible, and one way they do that is through instant replay. Research from Dr. Glenn Cummins in the College of Media & Communication directly measured viewer excitement using media psychophysiology to examine how effective instant replay is at keeping viewers excited. Read the full article.

Media Psychophysiology
Research Faculty

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