What Does a Gamer Look Like?

Abstract: Recent years have seen changes to the video game industry and the image of video game players. There are more games on the market and larger variety of ways to play those games. Yet, despite market shifts, authors such as Shaw (2012)demonstrate that there are still tensions surrounding gamer identification. Even as next-generation systems (such as the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4, and the Wii U) and casual gaming take hold of the market, tension remains between the perceptions of who is playing versus the reality of actual players. In our study, we perform a content analysis of video game commercials in 2013 to explore questions of diversity – particularly in terms of portrayals of the player’s sex and ethnicity – to consider how the gamer is represented in terms of physical and behavioral attributes.

Theorizing Public Relations History

Abstract: This historiographical essay argues for a set of standards that can be applied across time and place to determine whether a historical initiative is part of public relations history. After analyzing the concept of function in relation to public relations, we argue for an alternative focus on both the strategic intent of the practitioner and the role of human agency. We thus propose a way to identify what public relations is and, to borrow from Ivy Lee (1925), what it is not.

Experiencing nature

Abstract: Immersive virtual environments (IVEs) produce simulations that mimic unmediated sensory experiences. Three experiments (N = 228) tested how different modalities increase environmental involvement by allowing users to inhabit the body of animals in IVEs or watch the experience on video. Embodying sensory-rich experiences of animals in IVEs led to greater feeling of embodiment, perception of being present in the virtual world, and interconnection between the self and the nature compared to video. Heightened interconnection with nature elicited greater perceptions of imminence of the environmental risk and involvement with nature, which persisted for one week. Although the effect sizes were small to moderate, findings suggest that embodied experiences in IVEs may be an effective tool to promote involvement with environmental issues.

Understanding the impact that marketing, advertising and promotion have on adolescent e-cigarette behavior

Abstract: The rapid rise of e-cigarette use among adolescents is well documented.  As noted by Dai et al. in this edition, 19.8 % of adolescents have tried e-cigarettes and  9.4% were current users [1].  Also, documented in this edition is the extremely high awareness level of e-cigarettes among adolescents, Greenhill et al. [2], along with the association between exposure level to e-cigarette marketing, advertising and

The effects of culture and performance on trust in news media in post-Communist Eastern Europe

Abstract: This study tested the influences of cultural and performance factors on trust in news media in Serbia by conducting a survey on a stratified random sample of the Serbian population (N=544). The results show that both factors played a significant role, but that the performance explanation, measured as perception of news media corruption, was slightly more powerful than the cultural explanation, measured as generalized trust, when controlling for the effects of 10 other variables. Age, education and political party affiliation did not moderate the relationship between generalized trust and trust in news media. The results also showed that more than 20 years after the fall of Communism in Serbia, the levels of trust in news media and generalized trust remain low, while the perceptions of news media corruption reached extremely high levels. Before testing cultural and performance theories, the meanings of three main variables were explored, by conducting 20 in-depth interviews on a separate sample of the Serbian population. The study was partially supported by W.K. McClure Scholarship for the Study of World Affairs. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Bringing back full disclosure

Abstract: The Freedom of Information Act began as a tool for ensuring full disclosure of federal government agencies, but it has consistently failed to live up to these expectations. Despite frequent amendments, FOIA remains a law rooted in an era of paper record-keeping, where files are created and stored by government, protected from release by decades of judicial expansion of exemptions, and remain largely hidden from public scrutiny. Modern computing technology should allow much easier and broader access for citizens, but FOIA needs radical transformation to reclaim its purpose. This article calls for a structural overhaul of FOIA focusing on proactive transparency, taking advantage of modern record-keeping technology such as open government portals and automation to enable citizen access to records as early as possible. Exceptions should be narrow and applied at the moment a record is created, and incentives should shift to favor disclosure in the face of agency inaction or delay.

How does neighborhood quality moderate the association between online video game play and depression

Abstract: The main objective of our study is to assess the relationship between playing online video games and mental wellbeing of adolescents based on a nationally representative sample. Data come from the Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey (KCYPS), a government-funded multiyear research project. Through a secondary analysis of W2 and W3 of data collected in 2011 and 2012, we examine the extent to which time spent playing online games is related to depression, as measured by a battery of items modeled after the abridged version of Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised (CESD-R). For proper temporal ordering, the outcome variable is drawn from the latter wave (W3), whereas all time-lagged covariates are taken from the earlier wave (W2). Multilevel regression models show that more game playing is associated with greater depression. Findings also indicate that, net of individual-level variables (e.g., gender, health, family background), living in a community with more divorced families adds to adolescent depression. Finally, a cross-level interaction is observed: the positive association between game playing and depression is more pronounced in an area characterized by a lower aggregate divorce rate.

Examining spectator motivations in Major League Baseball

Abstract: Despite the increasing size and consumption power of senior consumers, in the sport marketing literature there appears to be no published work which attempts to understand the consumption behavior differences between senior and non-senior sport spectators. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the different motives between senior and non-senior consumers who attend sport events and to compare the effect of spectator motivation on sport consumption behaviors between senior and non-senior consumers. The results suggest that for non-senior sport spectators, escape was the most influential factor among sport-related motives while social interaction was the most influential motive for senior spectators. For senior spectators, drama and social interaction were the most important motives affecting re-attendance intention, media consumption, and merchandise purchasing intentions. For non-senior spectators, vicarious achievement was the most important motive affecting re-attendance intention, media consumption, and merchandise purchasing intentions.

Parents’ Confidence in Recommended Childhood Vaccinations

Abstract: There has been significant and growing interest in vaccine hesitancy and confidence in the United States as well as across the globe. While studies have used confidence measures, few studies have provided in-depth assessments and no studies have assessed parents’ confidence in vaccines in relationship to other frequently recommended health-related products for young children. This study used a nationally representative sample of 1000 U.S. parents to identify confidence levels for recommended vaccinations, antibiotics, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and vitamins for children. Parents’ confidence in vaccines was relatively high and high relative to antibiotics, OTC medicines and vitamins. For all four health-related products examined, past product experience and knowledge of bad or adverse outcomes negatively impacted parents’ confidence levels. Confidence levels were associated with both trust in advice from their child’s healthcare provider and acceptance of healthcare provider recommendations. Parents in some groups, such as those with lower income and education levels, were more likely to have less confidence not just in vaccines, but also in antibiotics and OTC medicines for children. Overall, the findings extend understanding of vaccine confidence, including by placing it into a broader context.

Native advertising and the future of mass communication

Abstract:  This article introduces a special issue of American Behavioral Scientist seeks to deepen our understanding and knowledge by examining practices and effects of native advertising and their impact on the broad subdisciplines of communication, among them journalism, public relations, advertising, and social media.