Past Projects

REPRESENTING RACE: THE RACE SPECTRUM SUBJECTIVITY OF DIVERSITY IN FILM

This research paper was inspired by CocoThe Black Panther, and Crazy Rich Asians collectively for the racial representation of the actors. Because of the hype, I wanted to know how people felt about this issue. I co-authored this paper and presented it at the Q methodology conference. It was accepted for publication by Racial and Ethnic Studies.  Abstract: Racial representation in Hollywood is a hot topic—one that will persist as long as the United States exists as a diverse society and the media pushes the agenda. In recent years, after the social media activism of #OscarsSoWhite, actors of color have been more visibly recognized for their contributions in Hollywood. In order to understand how people from all major racial groups in the United States feel about racial representation in film, this study employed Q methodology to assess the motivations, attitudes, and opinions of individuals on this issue. Four factors were identified: (1) balanced critics, (2) storyline devotees, (3) tolerant learners, (4) grounded advocates. These four groups of people with common opinions on diversity in film represent a spectrum on perceptions of race, from colorblind to anti-racist. This study provides context rather than theoretical arguments on the perceptions of and implications of a diversifying Hollywood.

PROJECT M.E.D.I.A.

Project M.E.D.I.A (Media Effects on Development from Infancy to Adulthood) is a longitudinal research study in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University (Sarah M. Coyne, Project Director). Its aim is to understand how digital natives are affected by growing up surrounded by the media. I have contributed by co-writing two papers, one on technoference and another on parental media use and mental health. These two papers were presented at the International Communication Association 2020 conference.

DIGITAL MEDIA USAGE ON PARENTAL MENTAL HEALTH AND PARENTING OUTCOMES

Abstract: Transitions to parenthood can be difficult. This study examines digital media use among new parents as it relates to parental mental health (specifically shame, depression, and stress) and parents’ subsequent perceptions about their ability to parent (efficacy and competence). Participants included 484 mothers and 345 fathers of infant children. Both mothers and fathers reported similar average levels of all variables, with the exception of shame, for which fathers reported more shame than mothers. We then tested a structural equation model of digital media use predicting mental health outcomes, which predicted parental perceptions of efficacy and competence. Both mothers’ and fathers’ digital media use was associated with heightened depression and stress; however, these mental health symptoms manifested differently between mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of parental outcomes. Only for fathers did a mental health outcome mediate the relationship between media use and perceived ability to parent. Thus, those fathers that used more digital media were more likely to feel stressed, which was then associated with a lower perceived ability to perform well as a parent. The implications are discussed.

“I CAN MULTITASK”: THE MEDIATING ROLE OF MEDIA CONSUMPTION ON EXECUTIVE FUNCTION’S RELATIONSHIP TO TECHNOFERENCE ATTITUDES

Abstract: Smartphones are ubiquitous in American lives and can interfere with parent-child relationships.  This technoference, or the interruption of interpersonal time by technology, has been associated with negative parent-child interactions and can indirectly threaten child safety. Nonetheless, little is known concerning possible factors that may exacerbate parental technoference.  The current study explored new parents’ media usage and technoference attitudes as they relate to executive function, or one’s ability to engage in higher cognitive processes such as attention, impulse control, and task coordination. Responses indicated that both mothers and fathers were more supportive of technoference attitudes in association with digital media use (i.e., text messaging and social media) and entertainment media use (i.e., apps, video games, TV). Regarding executive function, only for mothers was lower executive function associated with an increased acceptance of technoference attitudes, both directly and as mediated through more digital media use. These findings emphasize the importance of boosting executive functioning skills, particularly among new mothers.

RELATING, SEARCHING, AND REFERENCING: ASSESSING THE APPEAL OF USING GIFS TO COMMUNICATE

This paper was presented at the 2019 Q methodology conference. It is now under review for publication. I am a co-author on the paper.

Abstract: As online communication becomes ever more visual, GIFs as communication technologies continue to gain traction. The majority of existing GIF research focuses primarily on Internet denizens of Tumblr, but little explores the motivation of more novice GIF users. Through the use of Q methodology, uses and gratifications (U&G) theory, and media richness theory, this study explores why and how individuals use GIFs in everyday communication. Three factors were identified, indicating the motivations, attitudes, and opinions of different groups for using GIFs: (a) the GIF enthusiasts, (b) the searchers, and (c) the referentialists. Through the lens of media richness theory, each of the groups believed GIFs to have the U&G of relationship building but viewed it differently based on how rich they perceived GIFs to be. As GIF scholarship develops, this research will provide a foundational understanding of GIFs from a user perspective rather than from analytic medium-based scholarship.