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Alcohol in Popular Media and College Drinking Behaviors

Status: Completed data collection, Analysis ongoing

Wireless EEG headsetEDA and optical pulse

Sonya Dal Cin

Communications Studies; Research Center for Group Dynamics

Engagement with narrative media has demonstrated effects on individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. However, mediators of narrative effects are typically assessed using retrospective self-reports. Explicit self-reports collected during message exposure are also problematic, as the measurement interferes with the engagement process. We explored physiological measures of narrative engagement. Participants (n=66) watched film clips in which the characters consumed alcohol in social contexts. Eye-tracking was used to measure participants’ attention to alcohol on screen. Skin conductance and heart rate were used as autonomic measures of arousal. Following the clips, participants completed self-reports of narrative engagement, identification with characters, and alcohol-related cognitions and behavior.

Technologies Involved: Eye tracking, skin conductance, ECG