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Communication Regulatory Science: Optimizing Hookah Tobacco Public Education Messages to Reduce Young Adult Use

A talk by Glenn Leshner, University of Oklahoma

Friday, October 11, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in CAS 145

Communication regulatory science (CRS) is “communication research that uses validated techniques, tools, and models to inform regulatory actions that promote optimal communication outcomes and benefit the public” (Noar, et al, 2019). An example of CRS research is provided in the context of hookah smoking behavior. Hookah tobacco use is a public health concern because it poses substantial health risks, promotes addiction, and is associated with progression to cigarette smoking. Based on our literature review and pilot testing, we identified message risks/themes to test that target these constructs: 1) health harms, 2) addictiveness, 3) social use, 4) flavoring. Participants’ psychophysiological responses were recorded during message exposure in order to get moment-by-moment cognitive and emotional responses to different message themes and content. Data from a 2 (hookah user status: users/non-users) x 2 (message risk: health risk/addiction risk) x 3 (additional theme: basic/social use/flavoring) x 2 (message repetition) controlled mixed experiment will be presented. Measurements include ECG, GSR, FACS, eye-tracking, recognition, and other self-reports.

Glenn LeshnerGlenn Leshner is the Edward L. and Thelma Gaylord endowed chair in journalism in the Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. He also directs the OU PRIME Lab, located in the Center for Applied Social Research on OU’s research campus. He is a member of the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Stephenson Cancer Center at the OU Health Sciences Center. His research is in the area of communication regulatory science (CRS), psychological processing of mediated information, including attention, memory, affect, and behavior, particularly with respect to health messages. He has conducted research on how individuals process health-related information, such as anti-tobacco audio/visual messages. He has produced more than 130 articles, book chapters, and conference papers, and has published in top-tier journals such as Communication Research, Media Psychology, Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and Health Communication. Leshner has won research paper awards from both AEJMC and ICA, and directed a dissertation of the year presented jointly by ICA and NCA. He comes to the Gaylord College after serving more than 20 years on the faculty of the Missouri School of Journalism where he co-directed the PRIME Lab. He received his Ph.D. From Stanford University, his M.M.C. from the University of South Carolina, and his B.A. from Rutgers University.

Sponsored by the Quello Center and Information and Media Ph.D. program.