TAI Assistant Professor Yan Huang Shares Research on Narrative Persuasion and Attitude Resistance

TAI Research Brown Bag by TAI Assistant Professor, Yan Huang.

On Friday, April 13, Yan Huang, Assistant Professor of Advertising in TAI at SMU, shared her research titled “Persuasion and Counter Persuasion: The Impact of Narratives in Health Promotion,” at the TAI Research Brown Bag.

Professor Huang’s research examines the effects and mechanisms of strategic media messages and technologies in shaping consumer psychology, especially as they relate to health and socially responsible advertising. Through her studies, she addresses a series of questions including,

  • Is attitude induced by narratives able to resist the influence of competing messages?
  • What are the psychological mechanisms underlying narratives’ influence on resistance?
  • Can narratives effectively persuade individuals when used for counter persuasion?
  • How do we use storytelling to help the public make better decisions?

Health public service advertising (PSA) is not processed in a vacuum. An effective health PSA must not only produce an immediate persuasive impact but also compete with counter messages from different interest groups. Prior literature supports narrative benefits in eliciting immediate health attitude change. However, its influence in a competitive scenario has yet to be tested.

When individuals are exposed to a campaign message, they think about it, but they don’t typically engage in actions immediately. There is a time lag, in which individuals can encounter other information, which may contradict with what they were previously exposed to – these are competing messages. Professor Yan Huang performed a series of studies in which attitudes were assessed after exposure to pro- and anti-radiotherapy messages, in both the conventional rhetoric and storytelling formats. Immediate reactions and the responses after counter persuasion were assessed and analyzed.

Major findings of Professor Huang’s studies include,

  • Campaign messages in story formats can lead to better retention of information, which could enhance audience resistance to counter persuasion.
  • The experiential processes associated with narrative exposure, such as identification with story characters and the feeling of “being transported” into the story world, can increase counter-arguing with competing messages.
  • Narrative messages are much more effective than rhetorical messages in communicating counter-attitudinal information.

After sharing her research Professor Huang discussed various theoretical and practical implications including,

  • Narrative persuasion research may benefit from focusing attention beyond the change in attitude intensity to other properties of attitude strength.
  • The mechanisms underlying the carryover effect of narratives in the face of a competing message are both cognitive and experiential.
  • The applicability of narrative persuasion theories in a competitive situation.
  • The strong potential of narrative campaign messages in altering attitude.

Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to have Yan Huang for a lecture on her research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting speakers periodically throughout the year.

Yan Huang holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from Pennsylvania State University. She teaches Consumer Behavior (ADV 2301) at SMU. Her work has appeared in such journals as American Behavioral Scientist, Health Communication, Journal of Communication, among others. Moreover, her research has been recognized with Top Paper Awards from the International Communication Association (ICA), the Association for the Education of Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC).

TAI 2017-2018 Student and Faculty Awards

It’s time to celebrate another wonderful year of student and faculty accomplishments. We’ve recognized the achievements that make the Temerlin Advertising Institute an award-winning institute at SMU, and we could not be more proud of our talented students and faculty.

Below are all the industry and special awards earned by our students and faculty during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Industry and Special Awards

Industry Recognition

  • AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student – Jennifer Nelson and Eric Sedeño
  • AAF American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) – Samantha Butz, Lucas Crespo, Tiffany Giraudon, Jolie Guz, Madeline Khare, Grace LaMontagne, Grey McDermid, Kirsty McLauchlan, Caroline Moss, Jennifer Nelson, Helen Rieger, Eric Sedeño, Matthieu Smyth.
  • AAF Stickell Internship – Austin Inglett and Dalya Romaner.
  • AFF 10th District Scholarship: Alissa Llort and Avery Lewis
  • Advertising Education Foundation MADE Internship: Eric Sedeño
  • Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) Dallas Irene Runnels-Paula McStay Scholarship – Alissa Llort
  • DFW Interactive Marketing Association Scholarship – Hannah Tymochko
  • DSVC National Show Best Print Advertising Campaign, Best Copy & Judge’s Choice – Tiffany Giraudon, Laura Walsh and Caroline Moss.
  • National Student Advertising Competition, SMU-TAI’s Ad Team: Third Place and Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation

Student Organizations

  • SMU Ad Club Officers
Joanna Fennessy President
Sara Jane Stephens
and Alex Mackillop
Co-Membership Chairs
Lex Pedraza Treasurer
Peyton Turbeville Event Planning Chair
Eric Sedeño Communications
  • National Student Advertising Competition | Ad Team –
    Hayley Banas, Myla Borden, Mary Charles Byers, Amy Cooley, Rita de Obarrio, Harrison Fiveash, Anne-Marie Geisler, Alissa Llort, Alex Mackillop, London Mercer, Shelby Pointer, Juan Reyes, Sara Jane Stephens, Sara Ann Whiteley and Frank Zhang.

Institute Scholars

  • Engaged Learning Project –  Samantha Butz
  • Morris Hite – Zachary Crosby
  • Roger and Rosemary Enrico – Andrea Rosas

Honors

  • Alpha Delta Sigma – Joanna Fennessy
  • Kappa Tau Alpha – Arin Forstenzer, Tiffany Giraudon, Caroline Moss, Rachel Kainer, Cheyenne Tilford.
  • Hunt Scholar – Riley Blair
  • SMU Mortar Board Top 10 Sophomore – Rachel Kainer and Jolie Guz

Institute Awards

The Best Students. The Best Faculty. The Best Advertising
TAI STUDENT AWARDS:

  • TAI Anchor Award – Given to a student(s) who consistently “pulls more than his/her weight” in bringing projects to fruition: Matthieu Smyth.
  • TAI Donald John Carty Leadership Award –Given to a student(s) in recognition of leadership in the classroom, the Institute and beyond:
    Cheyenne Tilford.
  • Face of TAI Award – Given to a student(s) who represents the Institute within Meadows, SMU and/or the advertising industry:
    Joanna Fennessy
  • TAI Optimizer Award – Given to a student(s) who demonstrates a desire and aptitude to make work better through superior work strategies and iteration: Alissa Llort and Eric Sedeño.
  • TAI Outstanding Graduate Student – Given to a student(s) who best represents the academic and professional pursuit of the field:
    Coral Pisek.
  • TAI Resilience Award – Given to a student(s) who deals effectively with project setbacks while maintaining a positive attitude and demonstrating a resolve to produce outstanding work: Kirsty McLauchlan
  • TAI Social Impact Award –Given to a student(s) who exemplifies aspects of social responsibility in their advertising work and beyond:
    Anna Proctor.
  • TAI Service Award – Given to a student(s) who renders substantial service to the campus at large as well as in the greater community:
    Rita de Obarrio
  • TAI Team Player Award –Given to a student(s) in recognition of contributions to team projects and activities:
    Sara Jane Stephens and Jolie Guz.
  • TAI Outstanding Academic Achievement in CreativeTiffany Giraudon.
  • TAI Outstand Academic Achievement in DigitalRachel Kainer.
  • TAI Outstanding Academic Achievement in Strategic Brand ManagementCheyenne Tilford.
  • TAI Student Marshal at Graduation
    Caroline Moss.
  • TAI Undergraduate Reader at Graduation
    Alex Mackillop
  • TAI Graduate Reader  – Deja Sanders. 

 

TAI FACULTY AWARDS

  • Scholar of the Year  –
    Dr. Hye Jin Yoon
  • Service Exemplar   –
    Professor Mark Allen
  • Teaching Innovator  –
    Professor Cheryl Mendenhall
  • TAI Research Fellows  –
    Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan and Dr. Carrie La Ferle
  • Professor Inspiring Excellence
  • Student Support Superstars –  
    Dr. Alice Kendrick, Professor Mark Allen, and Professor Willie Baronet
  • Adjunct Professor Extraordinaire  – Gordon Law
Awards Lunch Room
Dr. Edwards on Stage

Step Away From the Google Doc: Fostering True Collaboration

Step Away From the Google Doc
Fostering True Collaboration
by TAI Professor Amber Benson

 

Today, Jeff Bridges will deliver the final talk in the SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture series. Most college students know Jeff Bridges for his role as The Dude in the cult movie The Big Lebowski. Your film professors would probably remind you that he is also a seven-time Academy Award nominee, with a win in 2010 for his starring role as a down-on-his-luck musician in Crazy Heart.

But my first memory of Jeff Bridges was seeing him in a quirky science fiction movie called TRON. In it, Jeff Bridges plays Kevin Flynn, a computer hacker that gets digitized–by a laser, no less–and trapped inside a mainframe computer. While there, he partners with other programs to break free and keep himself from de-rezzing (or dying). The special effects, which look like a bad 80s nightclub to a modern-day viewer, were groundbreaking. Although Disney updated the franchise (and Bridges reprised his role) in 2010, it’s worth checking out the original.

Or you could just visit one of my classes. Because I think the ghosts of TRON haunts the halls of Umphrey Lee.

Recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Whenever I encourage my students to work in groups, I watch as they circle up their desks, fire up their laptops and then go radio silent. They are sitting right next to one another, yet they are miles apart. And I know exactly what’s going on.

They are trapped in a Google Doc.

As a professor of digital advertising, I encourage my students to use technology to their advantage. I just wonder if that confab of multi-colored cursors in your browser is helping you achieve your goals. Sure, you are creating a document together, but are you actually creating value?

Value creation is at the heart of the advertising industry. As advertisers we create that value by turning insights into ideas. And to do that, we need to bring various perspectives to bear on the challenges our clients give us. And that requires more than mere collaboration. It requires dialogue.

The word dialogue has Greek origins, its roots are “dia,” which means “through” and “logos” which means “speech.” Dialogue literally means to “pass through speech.” It is the literal exchange of words that propels ideas forward.

Imagine that I give you a small piece of moldable clay and tell you to create a bust of Abraham Lincoln. You could try to do it yourself. You could make your best attempt and then give it to someone else to revise or edit. In the end, you might achieve your goal, but a linear, sequential process leaves little room for inspiration or optimization.

Alternatively, by working collaboratively, gathering team members and talking through the challenge, you are far more likely to achieve your goal and to do it in a shorter amount of time. Why? Like atoms bouncing off of one another, insights create energy when they are combined.  And once you hit on the perfect combination, that clarity provides momentum. When everyone fully “gets” the concept, then you delegate tasks without losing cohesion.

At one point in TRON, Kevin Flynn says, “On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy.” Collaboration software, such as Google Docs and Slack, can be useful tools in coordinating team member contributions, but they cannot think for you. And that focus on finishing the assignment rather than solving the problem is “de-rezzing” your grades.

So, next time you get a group assignment, step away from the Google doc and toward a white board. Grab a pack of Post-Its and a Sharpie. Visualize your data. Start a dialogue.

Escape the machine.

TAI professor Amber Benson is a results-driven marketing executive and consultant with over 15 years of varied and progressive experience in strategy development, digital marketing, e-commerce and corporate communications. Benson is dedicated to building successful brands through design thinking, strategic intuition and relentless innovation.