Annenberg School for Communication

Founded in 1959 through the generosity and vision of diplomat and philanthropist Walter Annenberg, The Annenberg School for Communication stands at the forefront of education, research, and policy studies on the processes, nature, and consequences of existing and emerging media. The School offers students a firm grounding in a wide range of approaches to the study of communication and its methods, drawn from both the humanities and the social sciences. Home to a wide range of centers and projects, including the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, the Center for Global Communication Studies, the Scholars Program in Culture & Communication, the Institute for Public Service, and others, research at Annenberg encompasses political communication, global communication, health communication, visual communication, cultural studies, children and media, as well as new media and information technologies, with interests extending beyond the classroom. For decades, research conducted by faculty and students at the Annenberg School has influenced public discussion of the role of the media in shaping the perceptions of the viewing public.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 1457
  • Publication
    How Christians Reconcile Their Personal Political Views and the Teachings of Their Faith: Projection as a Means of Dissonance Reduction
    (2012-03-06) Ross, Lee D; Lelkes, Yphtach; Russell, Alexandra G
    The present study explores the dramatic projection of one's own views onto those of Jesus among conservative and liberal American Christians. In a large-scale survey, the relevant views that each group attributed to a contemporary Jesus differed almost as much as their own views. Despite such dissonance-reducing projection, however, conservatives acknowledged the relevant discrepancy with regard to "fellowship"issues (e.g., taxation to reduce economic inequality and treatment of immigrants) and liberals acknowledged the relevant discrepancy with regard to "morality" issues (e.g., abortion and gay marriage). However, conservatives also claimed that a contemporary Jesus would be even more conservative than themselves on the former issues whereas liberals claimed that Jesus would be even more liberal than themselves on the latter issues. Further reducing potential dissonance, liberal and conservative Christians differed markedly in the types of issues they claimed to be more central to their faith. A concluding discussion considers the relationship between individual motivational processes and more social processes that may underlie the present findings, as well as implications for contemporary social and political conflict.
  • Publication
    How The Public Perception Of Political Polarization Affects American Social Life
    (2020-01-01) Lee, Hye-Yon
    Many Americans believe that the country is deeply divided over politics and that polarization will only get worse. Americans also tend to overestimate the degree of polarization and political extremism. Such exaggerated perceptions of polarization are widespread, but we know little about their effects on our society. Existing studies on perceived polarization have tended to focus on its effects on political attitudes and behavior (e.g., whether it leads to actual polarization), yet its impact outside the political sphere remains largely unknown. I argue that people’s perceptions of polarization matter, often above and beyond actual polarization. My dissertation addresses the consequences of perceived polarization for the quality of America’s social fabric. Specifically, I focus on two factors that are essential for social cohesion: social trust (generalized trust in fellow citizens) and cross-cutting contact (interactions across group boundaries). They serve as a social glue that binds people together, as both elements foster positive and tolerant attitudes toward those outside one’s small circle and promote a sense of togetherness among members of society. Is the public perception of polarization detrimental to social trust and cross-cutting contact? My first two studies use data from a nationally representative panel study and an experiment to demonstrate that perceiving greater polarization and extremism undermines Americans’ trust in each other. I find that perceived polarization makes people more skeptical of the good intentions of others and less likely to cooperate for the benefit of the collective. My third study focuses on the role of perceived polarization in limiting cross-cutting contact. To the extent that perceived polarization causes people to be less trusting and more critical of others, it could also negatively impact their willingness to interact with others, especially those unfamiliar and dissimilar to themselves. Using an experiment, I show that perceptions of polarization make people more responsive to social cues that signal attitudinal dissimilarity, which leads them to avoid those of differing political views early in the acquaintanceship phase. People who perceive the country as polarized are more averse to forming social ties and interacting across political lines, reducing opportunities for cross-cutting communication. My dissertation demonstrates that people’s perceptions of polarization have far-reaching consequences beyond the realm of politics and into their everyday lives. In turn, these social consequences have important ramifications for society’s ability to work together towards achieving common goals and bridging social and political divides.
  • Publication
    The Voice of the Visual in Memory
    (2004-01-01) Zelizer, Barbie
    For as long as collective memory has been an area of scholarly concern, the precise role of images as its vehicle has been asserted rather than explicated. This essay addresses the role of images in collective memory. Motivated by circumstances in which images, rather than words, emerge as the preferred way to establish and maintain shared knowledge from earlier times, it offers the heuristic of "voice" to help explain how images work across represented events from different times and places. The essay uses "voice" to elucidate how the visual becomes an effective mode of relay about the past and a key vehicle of memory.
  • Publication
    Mathematical Theory of Communication
    (2009-01-01) Krippendorff, Klaus
  • Publication
    The Two-Step Flow of Communication: An Up-To-Date Report on an Hypothesis
    (1957) Katz, Elihu
    The hypothesis that "ideas often flow from radio and print to opinion leaders and from these to the less active sections of the population" has been tested in several successive studies. Each study has attempted a different solution to the problem of how to take account of interpersonal relations in the traditional design of survey research. As a result, the original hypothesis is largely corroborated and considerably refined. A former staff member of the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University, the author is now on leave from his post as assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and is currently guest lecturer in sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
  • Publication
    Work Status, Television Exposure, and Educational Outcomes
    (1983) Messaris, Paul; Hornik, Robert
  • Publication
    Constraints to Knowledge Gain and Behavior Change in Response to a Multi-media Health Education Project in Gambia, West Africa
    (1985) McDivitt, Judith A.
    This dissertation examines the role of information in bringing about knowledge and behavior change in health in a developing country. It specifically considers the constraints to change provided by the physical, social, and cultural context in which this information is introduced. The primary questions asked were: Under what conditions and for whom does mass-mediated health information lead to knowledge and does knowledge lead to health behavior change? Conditions hypothesized included factors at the level of the individual (e.g., access to material goods and time, contact with health workers) and compound or village characteristics (e.g., compound wealth, social support, level of development in the village). The research studied a multi-media campaign providing information about the treatment of infant diarrhea in The Gambia, West Africa. The study used survey responses from a stratified sample of 677 rural mothers. The data base included responses from interviews done before and over the first eighteen months of the campaign. The analyses were performed in steps, first testing the relationship between knowledge and practice (or mass media exposure and knowledge) while controlling for possible interviewer bias and other extraneous factors, then examining the interaction effect of the independent variable and each of the hypothesized conditioning factors. Overall, most of the conditioning relationships were not statistically significant and, of those that were, most showed a pattern opposite to that hypothesized. For knowledge and behavior, the major finding was that level of development in the village is a condition significantly affecting the relationship between knowledge about an oral rehydration solution and its use. Social support, family literacy and mother's status also provided positive, although not statistically significant, conditions. For radio exposure and knowledge, mothers with interpersonal sources of information were expected to be more likely to learn from the radio than mothers without interpersonal sources. However, radio exposure only made a significant difference in knowledge for mothers without other sources of information, indicating that the mass media can act as alternative sources of information for those without access to other sources. The most important constraint to knowledge was access to information, rather than situational factors such as wealth, education, or village characteristics. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
  • Publication
    Systematic and Random Disagreement and the Reliability of Nominal Data
    (2008-02-10) Krippendorff, Klaus
    Reliability is an important bottleneck for content analysis and similar methods for generating analyzable data. This is because the analysis of complex qualitative phenomena such as texts, social interactions, and media images easily escape physical measurement and call for human coders to describe what they read or observe. Owing to the individuality of coders, the data they generate for subsequent analysis are prone to errors not typically found in mechanical measuring devices. However, most measures that are designed to indicate whether data are sufficiently reliable to warrant analysis do not differentiate among kinds of disagreement that prevent data from being reliable. This paper distinguishes two kinds of disagreement, systematic disagreement and random disagreement, and suggests measures of them in conjunction with the agreement coefficient α (alpha) (Krippendorff, 2004a, pp. 211-256). These measures, previously proposed for interval data (Krippendorff, 1970), are here developed for nominal data. Their importance lies in their ability to not only aid the development of reliable coding instructions but also warn researchers about two kinds of errors they face when using imperfect data.
  • Publication
    Assessing Impact, Evaluating Adaptability: A Decade of Radio La Benevolencija in Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC
    (2014-05-05) Kogen, Lauren
    For the past decade, Radio La Benevolencija (RLB) has worked in Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC to provide citizens with tools for recognizing and resisting manipulation to violence and healing trauma. Until now, however, its numerous programs, projects, and contributions had not been synthesized, and its findings had not been evaluated as whole. The Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania conducted an evaluation of RLB’s past ten years of work in the Great Lakes Region. In addition to understanding the aggregate impact of RLB’s programs, this meta-evaluation seeks to investigate what RLB’s work offers to others engaged in this field. We therefore seek to understand the adaptability of RLB’s methodology to other countries and contexts and how the RLB model might be used a prototype for future interventions.
  • Publication
    Franz Boas and Photography
    (2017-05-19) Jacknis, Ira