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 1202
  • 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 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
    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
  • Publication
    Excavating Radical Futures: Puppets, Robots, And The Fight For Technology
    (2019-01-01) Erdener, Jasmine
    This project argues that traditional puppetry offers a practice-based approach to think through political and ethical issues in technology and communication. Drawing on three summers of ethnographic participant engagement at Bread and Puppet Theater, a historic and internationally famous political puppet theater, the chapters pair traditional puppetry with visual and textual analysis of contemporary technologies like Sophia, sex robots, and the Cyborg Foundation, and the history of cybernetics and science fiction. Examining this history uncovers the implicit and explicit values and assumptions embedded in the objects and technologies themselves, as well as how popular understandings and representations of those objects can reinforce or counter those narratives. These distinct points of origin took puppetry and robotics in diverging directions, from material negotiation to domination. The consequences of this shift have ongoing repercussions for the way that technology is popularly represented, as well as for how political engagement is conceptualized and enacted. The project concludes by returning to puppetry, and to feminist science fiction and Afrofuturism, to offer possibilities for the future and directions for new work.
  • Publication
    Star Academy as Arab Political Satire
    (2008-01-01) Kraidy, Marwan M
  • Publication
    The Corporate Closet Managing Gay Identity on the Job
    (1992) Woods, James D
    Though we tend to think of organizations in asexual terms, a certain model of heterosexuality pervades most white-collar workplaces. Heterosexual behavior and values are disguised by official ideologies that require professionals to be "asexual" at work, in accordance with prevailing beliefs about privacy, professionalism, etiquette, intimacy between co-workers, and the irrelevance of sexuality to work. The hegemony of this model ensures that heterosexuality is rendered invisible, while homosexuality is made to seem disruptive, conspicuous, and unprofessional. Working within these environments, gay professionals adopt one of three strategies in their management of sexual identity. Some men "counterfeit" a heterosexual identity through the manipulation of outward appearances. Others "integrate" an identity by minimizing, normalizing, politicizing or dignifying their sexuality in the workplace. Still another group tries to "avoid" a sexual identity altogether by verbally or situationally dodging sexual displays. Some men use more than one of these strategies, which requires them to segregate their audiences, carefully monitoring the different approach used with each. The choice of strategy is influenced by several factors. Men who counterfeit an identity usually do so to evade the stigma of being gay, but feel socially invisible, anxious, and dishonest. Avoidance strategies protect the gay professional from social situations that might expose or discredit him, but deny him social opportunities and relationships he might enjoy. Finally, men using integration strategies pay for their candor by exposing themselves to prejudice, intensified performance pressures, and the double-edged sword of tokenism. The men's choice of strategy was also influenced by their co-workers' attitudes towards homosexuality, by their perceived economic vulnerability, and by the availability of role models. The study draws on interviews with 70 men in five U.S. cities. They range in age from 22 to 64 and represent a wide range of professional, white-collar organizations.