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dc.contributor.authorWilhelm, Pierre
dc.descriptionI presented my paper before members of the Canadian Communication Association at its annual conference at the 2009 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held this past May at Carleton University in Ottawa. Participants were interested in the results that I presented about an experiment that I designed to capture the effects on college women’s body esteem of contravening pro-esteem and pro-thin messages broadcast by TV ads and movies. They asked questions about the influence of media messages on young women, younger than the cross-section I examined in this experiment, as well as on older women. I cited various experimental research results to provide them answers to these questions. They also asked questions regarding my choice of closed and open questions in the instrument I designed to capture changes in female viewers’ attitudes to media and body esteem. They suggested that I consider running in-depth interviews of female viewers’ thoughts regarding test messages they viewed. I explained that statistical analyses of close-ended questions were necessar in this experiment to reveal a correspondence between viewers’ conscious and unconscious thoughts about test messages and corresponding body-image changes. I also explained that coding viewers’ short written answers to open-ended questions revealed patterns in their thoughts that highlighted the effects that Petty and Cacioppo’s Elaboration Likelihood Model (1986) predicted regarding the durability of persuasion effects. Coding viewers’ short answer open questions had helped me correlate data in this experiment that linked attitudes to media and body image changes more concisely than long interview responses could have. Participants in my presentation also questioned me about the direction that my future research would take and appreciated my responses. I indicated to them that I need to “adjust” my research instruments by designing new questionnaires that can better help me test the predictive power of persuasion theory and reveal how viewers’ attentiveness to message cues engages them in a comparative-thinking process (Festinger, 1954) as well as in social-relational thinking (Leary, 1999) affecting their body esteem. As well, they appreciated hearing about I plan to recruit female participants in greater numbers and run future experiments via the Internet. By taking this initiative on-line, I hope to help pioneer methods of research that Athabasca University’s future Virtual Media Laboratory can utilize. I also hope to help establish our University as a leader in on-line research I wish to involve our graduate students in recruiting, briefing, testing, and debriefing research participants. We need our communication students to help analyze data from this and other on-line communication research projects in order to help disseminate similar research results on on-going basis.en
dc.description.abstractThis paper presents findings of an experiment conducted with female college students to assess the effects of TV commercials and movie entertainment segments that feature stereotypical ( pro-thin) and realistic-looking (pro esteem) models of feminine beauty on viewers’ body esteem. The study was guided by the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion, the Sociometer Theory of self-esteem, and by Social-Comparison Theory. The experiment demonstrated that female viewers’ scrutiny of personally-relevant or non-relevant message cues was central in affecting their sensibility about their personal beauty. To a lesser extent, it also demonstrated that female viewers who scrutinized media messages intensely compared themselves with socially valued an norms of feminine beauty. In particular, this experiment demonstrated that viewers’ positive thinking about the content of experimental test messages enhanced female participants’ body esteem. However, viewers’ negative thinking exerted no significant impact. This paper discusses research limitations and suggestions ways of improving future experiments.en
dc.subjectfemale viewersen
dc.subjectTV commercialsen
dc.subjectmovie entertainment segmentsen
dc.subjectmodels of feminine beautyen
dc.subjectbody esteemen
dc.titleFemale Viewersen

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