Research Profile

Nowadays, media are omnipresent in both work and leisure: We listen to the radio on our way to work, play computer games during our lunch break, watch TV at night and engage with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media at all times of the day and night. People use media for a variety of reasons: to obtain information, for social exchange, to relax or be entertained, and they are somewhat transformed by the media encounter: They learn facts about the world, themselves, their fellow human beings, or existing norms and values, and can integrate these into their attitudes or behaviors. Such media effects are the focus of the Media Effects and Processes research unit. The phenomena under investigation range from user experiences with media (for example, involvement or narrative engagement), to the motivations for using media, to the changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors that may be induced by that media.

The division covers topics such as:


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The Experiences and Effecs of Media Narratives

Narratives in media assume many different forms and are known to be powerful tools for social change. The research interests of the unit include: What are the characteristics of different media narratives? How do readers or viewers process and experience media narratives? How do media narratives impact attitudes and behaviors, but also the way in which we interact in social situations?


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Health Communication

Health information in media ranges from persuasive health campaigns, and informational materials for patients, to reporting about health issues in news, and social media posts about health and illness. The division is concerned with the processing and effects of such information, as well as with health-related, potentially media-shaped patient characteristics (such as health literacy).


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Science Communication

Science has ceased to be a topic reserved for specialists. Many science topics, such as climate change, artificial intelligence, or genomic research concern the everyday lives of many people to the extent that audiences have a strong need to learn about these issues from the media. Possible research questions are: How are scientific information and findings represented in the media and processed or understood by readers or viewers? How does science reporting affect attitudes toward the scientific field and practical decisions in everyday life?

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Environmental Communication

Climate change, droughts, crop failure, micro plastics, climate deniers – the environment continues to engage the audience’s attention and interest. In this topic, the division investigates media representations of current environmental topics and how such information – which, often, is emotional or fear-inducing, is processed by audience members. Research interests range from the analysis of climate sceptic positions in mass media and popular media to the influence of peer norms as indicated by user comments and likes.

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Media Use

The division explores how audiences employ different styles of media use, how they pay attention and select media formats and contents. The focus is on the use of traditional mass media, as well as social media and corresponding patterns of usage and habits; in addition, the research unit is also concerned with the methodological challenges of investigating new and mobile media environments.