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Resonance as Mediator of Prime-Time Messages about Smoking
Unformatted Document Text:  Resonance as Mediator of Messages 13 These findings suggest that any portrayal of smoking in prime time, positive or negative, is likely to exert short-term impact on attitudes only if the message resonates with individual audience members. Indeed, we discovered a small backlash effect in the sample, wherein subjects exposed to treatments that do not resonate with their life experiences actually shift their attitudes in a direction counter to the manifest message content. These findings have important implications for the strategic use of anti-tobacco messages embedded in entertainment programming. Anti-tobacco messages can exert a desired effect by shoring up anti-tobacco attitudes of those for whom such messages resonate. Embedded anti-tobacco messages can help sustain healthy, tobacco-free lifestyles among those who have made that choice. However, anti-tobacco messages embedded in entertainment programming most likely do not constitute an efficacious communication strategy for changing attitudes of those from smoking backgrounds. This study is heuristic, suggesting areas for further inquiry. As previously noted, cultivation studies may have detected generally small effects because they ignored the interaction of media content with the life experiences of audience members (Shrum & Darmanin Bischak, 2001). In this study, no cultivation effect was detected initially because the same content coupled with identical levels of exposure caused opposing, negating effects among those from smoking and non-smoking backgrounds. Cultivation effects were discovered only when resonance was introduced as a mediating variable. The present study suggests that experimental designs involving brief controlled exposure to media content are efficacious in supplementing previous surveys measuring long-term exposure, especially with regard to systematically identifying and manipulating the moderating influences of such constructs as resonance, identification, and parasocial interaction.

Authors: Lauzen, Martha. and Dozier, David.
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Resonance as Mediator of Messages 13
These findings suggest that any portrayal of smoking in prime time, positive or
negative, is likely to exert short-term impact on attitudes only if the message resonates
with individual audience members. Indeed, we discovered a small backlash effect in the
sample, wherein subjects exposed to treatments that do not resonate with their life
experiences actually shift their attitudes in a direction counter to the manifest message
content.
These findings have important implications for the strategic use of anti-tobacco
messages embedded in entertainment programming. Anti-tobacco messages can exert a
desired effect by shoring up anti-tobacco attitudes of those for whom such messages
resonate. Embedded anti-tobacco messages can help sustain healthy, tobacco-free
lifestyles among those who have made that choice. However, anti-tobacco messages
embedded in entertainment programming most likely do not constitute an efficacious
communication strategy for changing attitudes of those from smoking backgrounds.
This study is heuristic, suggesting areas for further inquiry. As previously noted,
cultivation studies may have detected generally small effects because they ignored the
interaction of media content with the life experiences of audience members (Shrum &
Darmanin Bischak, 2001).
In this study, no cultivation effect was detected initially
because the same content coupled with identical levels of exposure caused opposing,
negating effects among those from smoking and non-smoking backgrounds. Cultivation
effects were discovered only when resonance was introduced as a mediating variable. The
present study suggests that experimental designs involving brief controlled exposure to
media content are efficacious in supplementing previous surveys measuring long-term
exposure, especially with regard to systematically identifying and manipulating the
moderating influences of such constructs as resonance, identification, and parasocial
interaction.


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