Shuoya Sun (MA ‘16) found that Grady College with its Digital Media Attention and Cognition (DMAC) Lab was the best place to pursue her research interests: how media context affects processing and evaluation of digital ads.
Sun said it was her previous job as a media planner that started her interest in consumer psychology.
“I wonder how consumers make decisions and how different media choices and environments affect their responses to ads,” Sun said of her interest. “I thought graduate school was the place to seek answers.”
Last Fall, Sun was the lead author on a paper that earned recognition at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication virtual conference. The paper, “How multitasking during video content decreases ad effectiveness: The roles of task relevance, video involvement, and visual attention” won third place in the Advertising Division and was co-authored by Bart Wojdynski, director of the Digital Media Attention and Cognition Lab and a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor; Matt Binford, Ph.D. student; and Charan Ramachandran, an undergraduate student.
Media multitasking is pervasive, and the research found that divided attention during multitasking may reduce how advertising is attended to and processed by consumers. Sun and her collaborators collected the data in an experiment with 153 participants, using the DMAC Lab’s eye-tracking equipment and through attitudinal and task-relatedness surveys completed by participants.
“The research aligns with my primary research interest and looks at the advertising format I like the most—in-stream video ads,” Sun said. “I’m grateful to my collaborators from the Digital Media, Attention, & Cognition Lab. It is their support and hard work that make this award more meaningful.”
Sun looks forward to expanding her research but is also interested in topics like ad effectiveness-related topics in green advertising and how humor may influence ad processing Sun also researches.
Not surprisingly, it’s the professors that make Grady stand out in Sun’s opinion.
“I think the professors at Grady are really helpful,” Sun said. “They love to hear about your research ideas and work with you on a research project. They would also involve you in their projects when there is the chance.”
She also appreciates the funding opportunities through scholarships and graduate assistantships.
“Both at Grady and UGA at large, there are research-related funding opportunities to apply for,” Sun added.
Sun earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism from the Communication University of China in Beijing. When she decided to return for her master’s education, she researched graduate schools online before deciding to apply to Grady College.
“I learned that it’s home of the renowned Peabody Award, offers different concentrations to suit student interests, and enjoys a good reputation nationwide,” she said of her decision. “In addition, it’s in a southern state of subtropical climate with mild winters,” she added half-jokingly.
Sun plans to find a job in research once she has her degree.
“A relaxing short vacation is also desired,” she concludes.