Publications & Research

Existing research on parental information literacy focuses on parents’ ability to evaluate information. This approach does not account for conflicting or unwanted information and obscures the emotional impact of unsought information. We aimed to (1) document the sources women use most frequently for accessing breastfeeding information, (2) explore the reasons women choose some sources over others, (3) test the relationship between source characteristics and breastfeeding self-efficacy, and (4) determine the extent to which four source characteristics – competence, trustworthiness, goodwill, and social support – predict breastfeeding self-efficacy. This study was conducted in two phases. The first phase consisted of interviews and focus groups, which we analyzed inductively using a grounded theory approach. In phase two, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of women who were currently breastfeeding, collecting data on the source credibility and social support associated with the source they use most frequently and the participants’ breastfeeding self-efficacy. We used multiple regression to analyze our survey data. The frequency with which our participants encountered conflicting and unsought prompted them to view sources that combine expertise and social support as ideal. However, these sources are often difficult to access, leading to a reliance on online sources. This compromise has implications for breastfeeding tenure, as both competence and social support predicted breastfeeding self-efficacy. This study demonstrates how emotional aspects of information seeking shape women’s preferred sources, how accessibility limits the use of preferred sources, and how source competence and social support influence breastfeeding self-efficacy.

Two studies were conducted to examine the hypothesized effects of both warranting theory and truth default theory in an online dating context. The variables of interest were compared using bivariate correlations and competing serial mediation models were presented. The 2x2 experiments examined the effects of perceived motivation and ability to manipulate. Perceived motivation and ability to manipulate were significantly correlated with warranting value. However, warranting value was not correlated with the impression outcomes (trustworthiness, content veracity, and warmth). Neither the warranting theory nor the truth default theory serial mediation models were significantly predicted by the data. This was partially explained by a failed manipulation of perceived motivation. Indirect effects of ability on impressions that excluded warranting value were found in Study 2. Together, the studies provide a first look into these relationships and exciting new avenues for future research. 

Societal norms of commitment to family make gaining and maintaining family distance challenging. This study utilizes the investment model (Rusbult, 1980, 1983) to understand family commitment in the context of family member marginalization. A survey of 285 marginalized family members revealed family member marginalization is associated with lower family satisfaction and investment and higher availability of alternative kin relationships. The negative association between perceptions of family member marginalization and family commitment was mediated by family satisfaction and investment. Financial dependence on family, family-blame, self-blame, and intentionality of marginalization moderated the association between family member marginalization and (a) satisfaction and (b) investment. Implications for the investment model and practical implications for supporting marginalized members are discussed. 

Negative Online Reviews and Manager Response:
Applying Expectancy Disconfirmation Theory in a CMC Context

Rathjens, B., Van Der Heide, B., Pham, D., Earle, K., Ulusoy, E., Mason, A. J., & Bredland, A. (2023)

How firms respond to complaints or negative online reviews and the effectiveness of manager response types is an area that has recently become a focal point for researchers. The present study utilized an experimental design to investigate the effect of restaurant manager response types to negative online reviews resulting from expectation violations. Results indicated that restaurants that possess higher ratings are assigned more trust. Subsequently, higher-rated restaurants have more power to increase customer satisfaction than those with lower ratings, especially when the restaurant publishes personalized manager responses.

With the growing use of video chat in daily life, it is critical to understand how visual communication channels affect interpersonal relationships. A potentially important feature that distinguishes video chats from face-to-face interactions is the communicators’ ability to see themselves during the interaction. Our purpose was to determine the effects of self-viewing on the process and outcome of a workplace confrontation. A dyadic experiment with two (self-viewing vs. no self-viewing) conditions was conducted using multi-instruments (self-report, physiological arousal, eye-tracking). Results showed that self-viewing reduced self-evaluation, which subsequently reduced solution satisfaction. Self-viewing also impaired one’s ability to assess their partner’s attitude and lowered partner evaluation. Although self-viewing decreased negative emotional expressions, the effect on conversation tone varied depending on the role an individual played. The overall negative impacts of self-viewing ability have significant implications for the appropriate implementation of a computer-mediated channel for enhancing one’s experience when having a difficult conversation.

The present research examines how perceptions of e-scooter mobile apps (i.e., a communication technology) influence intent to use e-scooters (i.e., a transportation technology) while considering other perceptions specific to e-scooters (ease of use, usefulness, safety, environmental impact, and enjoyment), context of use (geographic landscape), and demographic factors (age and sex). Results suggest mobile app perceived ease of use is associated with e-scooter use intent and this effect is mediated by e-scooter perceived usefulness, even when controlling for e-scooter perceived ease of use as well as other influential elements of e-scooter use. In addition to illustrating the importance of user experiences with mobile apps within the e-scooter context, this interdisciplinary research furthers a fundamental argument that media technologies are an integral factor in the adoption of transportation technologies.

Keeping it Casual or Lifelong Connection? The Effect of Digital Affordances on Attraction in an Online Dating Profile.

Lane, B., Mejia, R., Earle, K., & Mott, A. (2020)

Dating has changed significantly in the past 30 years. New methods of finding a partner have evolved with the changing media and online dating sites influence these communication processes. In this experiment, we examined how digital affordances influenced attraction. Participants (n= 315) were randomly assigned to view an online dating profile from either eHarmony, Tinder, or Craigslist and asked to report their romantic, social, and physical attraction. Our results indicated the language, the website, and the sex of the profile owner influence romantic attraction. Additionally, the language and the website influence social attraction and the photograph influences physical attraction. We argue that digital affordances of disparate dating sites are not equal to one another, as design differences influence how users interpret the romantic, social, and physical attraction of online dating profiles; considering the recent closure of Craigslist’s dating section, the future of romantic, social, and physical attraction may increasingly be bound to the technical pressures of an increasingly photo-centric online dating industry.

According to social information processing theory (SIPT), humans are actively encoding and decoding information when communicating through technology (Walther, 1992). This study uses SIPT as a theoretical guideline and examines the type of attributions formed when elements such as time stamps, read receipts, and ellipses are present in text-based communication. Malle’s (2006) categorization of attribution types was used to analyze attributions from a free response section of an online experiment. Various chi-square tests were used to determine if attributions differed when various chronemic cues were present. Only one hypothesis was supported, but results provide opportunities for future research in this area.