Academic journal article Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media

Processing Substance Abuse Messages: Production Pacing, Arousing Content, and Age

Academic journal article Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media

Processing Substance Abuse Messages: Production Pacing, Arousing Content, and Age

Article excerpt

Decades of media research have investigated how different types of media content (news, sports, violence, advertising, etc.) influence people's perceptions, knowledge, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. In the past few decades, a subset of this research has focused on how the structural features (cuts, edits, sound, light, camera techniques, voice changes, etc.) of media alter viewers' cognitive and emotional processes (Anderson & Lorch, 1983; Geiger & Reeves, 1993; Huston & Wright, 1983; Lang, 1990; Lang, Geiger, Strickwerda, & Sumner, 1993; Lang, Zhou, Schwartz, Bolls & Potter, 2000; Potter, 2000; Reeves et al., 1985). Public health communication research, concerned with how to deliver a message to a target population in order to change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, has also paid some attention to how the structural features of messages affect viewers' attention and attitudinal responses, and to the role these play in behavior change. Donohew, Palmgreen, and Lorch (1994), with other colleagues, have investigated how message sensation value affects emotional responses and message selection. In their work, sensation value is measured with a 17-item scale designed to capture attributes related to a message's formal features. In general, they have found that messages high in sensation value are preferred and may be more effective, particularly with high sensation seeking adolescents who may be more prone to substance use and abuse (Everett & Palmgreen, 1995; Lorch et al., 1994; Palmgreen et al., 1991; Stephenson & Palmgreen, 1999).

The message sensation value research has primarily focused on the selection dimension of attention and on attitude and behavior change. The effects of message sensation value on specific subprocesses of information processing (such as encoding, storage, and retrieval) and different dimensions of emotional response (e.g., valence, arousal, and dominance) have not been thoroughly investigated. Furthermore, the message sensation value scale includes elements of both content and structure. The content variables include emotion, creativity, and uniqueness. Structural variables include sound effects, visual effects, and music. Using this scale, it is not possible to separate the effects of the content variables from the effects of the structural variables. Therefore, specific knowledge about which of the 17 attributes is affecting which dependent variables (selection, attitude change, or behavior change) is lacking.

The study reported here begins to extend the message sensation value work by focusing specifically on how the rate of one structural variable, production pacing, and one content variable, arousing content, affect adolescent and college-age viewers' emotional and cognitive processing of public service announcements (PSAs). Specifically, it will examine the effects of production pacing, arousing content, and the age of the viewer on viewers' physiological, cognitive, and emotional responses to substance abuse PSAs. The study builds on previous studies investigating the effects of production pacing and arousing content on the cognitive and emotional processing of prime-time television programs, news, and commercials. Thus, this study asks: Do production pacing and arousing content in televised PSAs have the same effects on message processing that they do in other types of content? Secondly, the study examines whether adolescents process televised PSAs in the same way as college students. Results from this study will add to knowledge about the effects of production pacing and arousing content in televised messages. Results will also enhance understanding of how adolescents process media. This knowledge will contribute to better design and production of PSAs that elicit attention, convey knowledge, alter attitudes, and perhaps eventually change adolescents' intentions to perform risky behaviors.

Literature Review

This paper applies the limited capacity mode[ of mediated message processing to study how adolescents and college-age students process televised substance abuse PSAs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.