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Mediated Communication & You

An Introduction to Internet & Media Effects

Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick and Axel Westerwick

Publication Date - January 2020

ISBN: 9780190925666

400 pages

Retail Price to Students: $74.99

A state-of-the-art introduction to how media and mediated communication affect people and society


Engaging, up-to-date, and accessible, Mediated Communication & You: An Introduction to Internet & Media Effects introduces you to crucial questions and issues in media use, the possible negative effects of media, and theories and research on mediated communication. The text helps readers develop an awareness of the diversity of mediated messages and media use responses. It also considers potential positive outcomes of media use and why we enjoy the internet and media, topics that are particularly important in today's digital world.

Topics covered include: how mediated communication affects our worldviews and social groups; how news coverage takes shape and is consumed by audiences; political communication and opinion expression; emotions and pleasure resulting from mediated communication; health communication; computer-mediated communication; and much more.


  • Student-focused: Engages students in a meaningful way through its accessible organization, lucid writing style, relevant activities, and coverage of the two-way communication used in students' daily lives
  • Method literacy in context: "Method Spotlight" features describe selected studies, introducing students to research methods and improving their scientific literacy
  • Helpful pedagogy: Discussion questions, assignments, key lessons, remarks, key terms, examples, and graphics provide students with extra support
  • Robust Instructor Support: The text's online Ancillary Resource Center at www.oup.com/he/knobloch-westerwick contains an Instructor's Manual--with detailed instructions for assignments, including modifications for in-class, hybrid, and online sections--a comprehensive Test Bank, and Powerpoint Lecture Slides

About the Author(s)

Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick is Professor of Communication at The Ohio State University. She is the author of Choice and Preference in Media Use (2015) and Playing with Destiny: An Analysis of Interactive Entertainment Based on Action Theory and Personality Psychology (2000). Dr. Knobloch-Westerwick is coeditor of Communication Research.

Axel Westerwick has taught communication classes for over a decade at The Ohio State University. He used his experiences to integrate online sessions in his teaching as one of the first instructors at the OSU School of Communication.


"Mediated Communication & You is an outstanding, and needed, contribution to the study of mediated communication, especially its effects mass media and mass society. It's a most welcome addition that should be considered for its novel and timely student-centered approach."--James M. Stephens, Tennessee State University

"This book nicely ties together a wide variety of theories and concepts into a chapter structure that fits a standard semester. It was written with modern college students in mind, in order to help them realize the central role of media in their lives."--Jessica Myrick, Indiana University

Table of Contents

    About the Authors
    Chapter 1. Mediated Communication and Its Kin: Understanding What We Are Talking About
    High Hopes and Crucial Concerns
    Easy Information Access versus Information Overload
    Connectedness versus Alienation
    Definition of Communication
    Noninteractive, Reactive, and Interactive Communication
    Elements in the Communication Process
    Organizations and Groups in Mass Communication
    The Issue of Mass in Mass Communication
    Functions of Mass Communication
    Mediated Communication
    Chapter 2. Media Shaping Our World Perception: "The Pictures in Our Heads"
    First- and Second-Hand Experiences
    Cultivation Theory
    Cultural Indicators Research Project
    --Method Spotlight (Multi-Method): TV Portrayals and the Real World
    Criticism on Cultivation Theory and Research
    Refinements Beyond Original Cultivation
    Differentiating Genres
    Differentiated Cultivation Impacts
    The Heuristic Processing Model
    Cognitive Lens to Media Impacts on Real-World Perceptions
    Exemplification Theory

    Chapter 3. Social Group Perceptions and Media: Those We Like and Dislike
    The Issue of Media Reinforcing Stereotypes
    Stereotypes--Efficient, Accurate, Ethical?
    The Messages: Media Representations of Social Groups
    --Method Spotlight (Content Analysis): Social Groups Represented in Prime Time
    Theory Frameworks on Group Portrayal Impacts
    Cognitive Perspectives: Media Priming of Stereotypes and Implicit Bias
    Motivational Perspective to Intergroup Communication: Social Identity Theory
    Differentiations of Stereotype Content and Impacts
    Counter-Acting Stereotyping Through Media Messages
    Chapter 4. Media Use Motivations: Addressing Your Needs and Managing Your Self
    Always Communicating
    The Uses-and-Gratifications Approach
    The Golden Age
    --Method Spotlight (Survey): The Appeal of Talent Reality TV
    Seventy Years of Research
    New Perspectives to Motivations for Mediated Communication: Shape Your Self!
    Mediated Communication for Developmental Purposes
    The Downside of Mediated Communication as Developmental Toolbox
    Self-Management and Identity Reinforcement
    Stereotype Threat and Lift

    Chapter 5. Emergence and Interpretation of Issues: How Topics Catch the Limelight
    The Basics
    --Method Spotlight (Experiment): News' Impact on Issue Importance
    Media Priming
    Agenda-Setting in a Fragmented and Interactive Media Landscape
    The Basics of Framing Research
    Illustrating Framing Research--The Issue of Obesity
    Framing--A "Catch-All" Phrase?

    Chapter 6. Following and Contributing to New: Keeping Up with What's Going On
    Tectonic Shifts in the News Landscape
    From Gatekeeping to Gatewatching
    Newsworthiness and Shareworthiness

    --Method Spotlight (Content Analysis): News Comments as Challenge to Mainstream Views
    Paying Attention to News
    Attention Levels
    Informational Utility
    Attention to Self-Interests, Values, and Groups

    News Knowledge and Relevant Developments
    Accessing and Learning from News
    High-Choice Media Environment
    Overarching News Flaws
    The Softening of News

    Chapter 7. Mediated Politics: Challenges for Constructive Conflict
    What Is Political Communication?
    Incivility in Public Discourse
    Divides in the Electorate
    Polarization of Political Attitudes
    Confirmation Bias
    Cognitive Engagement
    --Method Spotlight (Experiment, Observations): Confirmation Bias in Online Search
    The Jigsaw of Political Communication
    Chapter 8. Your Opinion Expression in a Public Context: Speaking Out Loud?
    What's an Opinion?
    Understandings and Importance of Public Opinion
    Spiral of Silence Theory
    Public Opinion and Fear of Isolation
    The Quasi-Statistical Sense
    Spiraling Dynamics
    Dual Climate of Opinion and Other Pitfalls of Public Opinion
    Opinion Expression as the Key Outcome
    Reference Groups, Avant-Gardes, and Hard Cores
    Empirical Evidence for Spiral of Silence Processes
    Public Opinion in the Internet Era
    Gauging Public Opinion Online
    Online versus Offline Opinion Expression

    Hearing or Avoiding the Other Side?
    --Method Spotlight (Survey): Speaking Up Online
    Chapter 9. Persuasion Dynamics: Our Views Swayed
    Defining Persuasion
    At the Heart of Persuasion: Attitudes
    Differentiating Sources in Persuasion
    The Sleeper Effect in the Internet Age
    Key Characteristics of Persuasive Messages
    Argument Quality
    Evidence Type
    Recipient and Situation Characteristics
    Personal Relevance
    Attitude Importance
    Need for Cognition
    Elaboration Likelihood Model
    Processing Modes
    Motivation and Ability
    Peripheral Processing Route
    Central Processing Route
    Bottom Line

    Chapter 10. Emotions and Excitation: Your Feelings in a Mediated Context
    Why Care About Emotions?
    Components and Relevance of Emotions
    Functionality of Emotions Then and Now
    Empathy in Mediated Communication
    Understanding Excitation from Mediated Communication
    Excitation Transfer Theory
    Implications of Excitation Transfer
    --Method Spotlight (Experiment, Physiological Data): Football Thrills
    Desensitization and Attention Problems
    Fear as an Example for a Specific Emotion in Mediated Communication
    Chapter 11. Pleasure and Enjoyment Seeking: Using Media to Feel High and Low
    Mood Management Theory (MMT)
    Mood-Impacting Message Characteristics
    --Method Spotlight (Experiment, Observations): Picking Out Entertainment
    Applicability and Challenges
    Affective Disposition Theory of Media Enjoyment
    Media Enjoyment
    Affective Disposition and Dispositional Mediation of Affect
    Moral Judgment
    Antiheroes and Morally Ambiguous Characters
    Chapter 12. Health and Risk Communication: Super Bodies and Death Fears
    Public Health Communication Campaigns
    Social Cognitive Theory
    Human Capabilities
    Observational Learning
    Mechanisms Shaping Observational Learning
    --Method Spotlight (Content Analysis): Fitspiration on Social Media
    Examples and Definition
    Processes and Impacts
    Empirical Evidence
    Looking Ahead
    Chapter 13. Computer-Mediated Communication and Social Media: Your Personal Information Galore
    Understanding Computer-Mediated Communication
    Development and Adoption of Social Media
    Key Theories for Computer-Mediatied Communication
    Interpersonal Communication
    Intergroup Communication
    Network Communication
    Select Research Insights
    Misinformation via Social Media
    Online Dating
    --Method Spotlight (Focus Group Discussions): The Dark Side of Social Media
    Looking Ahead
    Chapter 14. The Role of Advertising: How Your Attention and Money Make the Media Go Around
    Importance of Advertising
    Advertising Fueling the Economy
    Advertising Impacting Individuals
    Advertising Matters for Media
    Media's Mixed-Revenue Model
    Selling Audiences
    Creating Audiences
    Using Data to Sell Audiences
    Digital Revolution in Advertising
    Advertising Data Avalanche
    --Method Spotlight (Big Data): Tweaking Online Ads with Consumer Data
    Computational Advertising
    From Audience Creation to Audience Chasing?
    From Subsidizing to Compiling Content

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