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Friday, April 24th

Poster Number: 008

Media Influence on Viewers' Perceptions of Athletes

Austin Whiteside, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Jinwook (Jason) Chung, Ph.D.

This study pertains to how viewers of media content perceive an athlete emotionally, as well as in terms of attitude. The study was conducted through distributing a survey via smartphone and through posting a survey link on social media accounts. The survey included two clips of Ezekiel Elliott, running back of the Dallas Cowboys (on-field and off-field). Participants rated their emotions and attitudes toward Elliott after viewing each clip. Results showed that there was no significant finding for emotion toward an athlete after viewing a short clip. There was a significant finding for attitude toward an athlete after viewing a short clip. Participants had more positive impressions of Elliott after viewing the first clip compared to the second clip. This allows those researching sport to take into account that viewers of media content have to see more content of an athlete to properly evaluate how they feel about an athlete emotionally. However, viewers may develop a particular impression (referring to attitude) of an athlete based upon the content they have seen.

Poster Number: 009

The Real and Perceived Effects of Social Media Usage on Relationship Outcomes


Stephanie Carr, Winthrop University
Kayla Pelle, Winthrop University
Tiana Whitney, Winthrop University
Destiny Black, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

Social media platforms are one of the most common ways that humans interact in societies all over the world. The primary purpose of the current study was to examine the influence of social media on the outcomes of relationship satisfaction. We hypothesized that both real and hypothetical social media usage would associate with decreased romantic relationship satisfaction. This study consisted of 138 participants that were a convenience sample of Winthrop University students. Those participants aided in measuring perceptions of social media through completing social media usage scenarios and previously created questionnaires. The scenarios described the average day of a Winthrop University college student, including varying amounts of social media usage. Additionally, the research utilized previously created measures that asked participants about personal social media usage incorporated into their everyday lives. The participants went through the questionnaire online, developed for this research, by answering questions examining the actual and hypothetical impact of social media on romantic relationship satisfaction. From these results we can conclude that although people perceive that social media usage will have a significant negative effect on romantic relationships, it does not appear to significantly predict actual romantic relationship outcomes. Further, the data are very beneficial to the concept of how social media usage can influence romantic relationship satisfaction outcomes. That is due to specific predictors yielding significant findings. However, future research is needed to examine whether social media usage truly predicts romantic relationship satisfaction.

Poster Number: 010

Influence of Social Media Exposure, Knowledge and Officer Location on Police Perceptions

Victoria Newman, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

The study investigated exposure to police-related content on social media and adults’ perceptions of police use of force. Location of the police activity was also manipulated to gauge its effect on perceptions. Participants were 119 adults with a mean age of 24.36 (SD = 10.13). The majority were Caucasian (64%) and women (80%). Participants were assigned to one of three experimental conditions via an online platform. In all conditions, participants read about police-citizen interactions that varied in the use of force and level of suspect resistance. The conditions differed in where the interactions were said to have taken place: familiar small town, familiar large city, or unfamiliar small town. Participants provided their opinions about the scenarios, and responded to a knowledge quiz about policing, the Perceptions of Police Scale, and questions about their exposure to social media as a news outlet. Results revealed no support for the hypothesis that geographic location would influence perceptions of police-citizen interactions, suggesting that perceptions of police officers maintain across situations and reveal global consistency. Instead, race and social media exposure were more predictive of police perceptions. Matching the hypothesis, reliance on social media related to more negative attitudes toward police officers. Perhaps social media exposure helps create the negative attitudes, or conversely, those with negative attitudes look to social media for confirmation of their opinions. Compared to Caucasians, and reflecting current societal tensions, African American adults reported more negative police perceptions and more exposure to negative postings about police on social media.

Poster Number: 011

Perceptions of Sexual Harassment in Ambiguous Social Media Posts and Comments

Mary Morris, Winthrop University
Vanessa Vaughn, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

Research has been done over the past few decades to learn more about sexual harassment and the ways in which it impacts its victims. Researchers tell us that sexual harassment consists of sexual attention that is written, spoken, or any sexual action that is unwanted by the victim. While there is information like this, researchers tell us there has been little research on sexual harassment in terms of the digital world. The present study aimed to explain some of these interactions on social media. Manipulated pictures were used to represent Instagram posts to figure out how participants interpreted sexual harassment online. It was predicted that if photo captions were soliciting of sexual behaviors, they would not be interpreted as sexually harassing. This was not supported, as the participants viewed the comments that were sexual as inappropriate regardless of the caption type. Participants were also asked to record their frequency in receiving and participating in online sexual harassment, as well as their emotional responses. Here it was predicted that women would receive sexual harassment more than men but participate less. This hypothesis was not supported, but the data set for men was too small for a viable test. The significant results, that the participants viewed sexual comments as negative and inappropriate, gave some insight into how sexual harassment online is interpreted and accepted, but more research needs to be done for a more thorough understanding.

Poster Number: 012

The Effects of Media on Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation Comfort and Attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ Community


Katherine Harper, Winthrop University
Jaylan Luvene, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

The main hypothesis was that after viewing a lesbian-appearing profile, participants would have a more positive view of the LGBTQ+ community, compared to participants who viewed a heterosexual-appearing profile. Additionally, it was hypothesized that more media representation of LGBTQ+ and prevalence of LGBTQ+ role models would produce a positive correlation with attitudes. Participants were 16 men, 55 women and nine participants who did not gender identify. The participants’ ages ranged from 18-50+. Through an online survey, using various questionnaires, participants’ attitudes toward the social media profiles (one profile appearing heterosexual and the other lesbian) were assessed. It was found that there were significant negative correlations between feelings towards LGBTQ+ role models and condemnation, and between LGBTQ+ role model prevalence and perceived immorality. Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of profile condition (heterosexual vs. lesbian-appearing) on attitudes about being pursued by a member of the same sex. It was found that the participants who viewed the lesbian profile expressed significantly less discomfort with receiving romantic attention from same-sex individuals compared to the participants who viewed the heterosexual profile. There was also a significant difference in the profile means. Beliefs about transgender people were affected in a similar way, with participants who viewed the lesbian profile having more transgender-affirming beliefs compared to those who viewed the heterosexual profile. Thus, it can be theorized that the manipulation of one “relationship status” photo in the profiles initiated a change in the participants' acceptance of and contact with the community.

Poster Number: 013

Young Adults' Argumentativeness and Responsiveness to Social Media Posts Varying in Emotional Tone

Derek Velez, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

The present study examined young adults’ willingness to respond to social media posts varying in emotional content, hypothesizing that adults would be more willing to respond to posts with an emotional, versus a neutral, tone. It was also hypothesized that argumentativeness would predict greater responsiveness to social media posts. Participants were 144 adults with a mean age of 21.75 (SD = 5.52). The majority were women (84%) and Caucasians (62%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions via an online platform. Each condition had social media posts with a specific emotional tone: neutral, negative, or positive. Participants rated their reactions and willingness to respond. Participants also completed scales to assess their argumentativeness and social media activity. Contradicting the hypothesis, young adults were more reluctant to respond to the provided posts that had an emotional tone, even though the negative posts elicited the strongest emotional reactions. Despite saying they were hesitant to respond to the emotional posts in our study, participants indicated that they typically respond to happy and sentimental postings on their own social media sites; this contradiction might reflect inaccurate self-perceptions or the possibility that anonymity elicits different responses than does being identifiable. In partial support of the prediction, argumentative people seemed to seek opportunities to argue by responding to angry posts. Lastly, in comparison to African American adults, Caucasian adults reported being more concerned with being perceived badly on social media and more irritated when others were not similarly cautious.

Poster Number: 014

Self and Social Acceptance: How Popular Media Affects the LGBTQ+ Population

Erin Streetman, Winthrop University

The LGBTQ+ community is vulnerable to many kinds of discrimination. From bullying during youth to discrimination in everyday adult life, LGBTQ+ individuals are frequently faced with hostile environments. This discrimination can have widespread negative physical and mental effects, so it is important to find ways to combat discriminatory practices and prejudices against minority groups such as the LGBTQ+ community. In recent years, media and social media have become major parts of everyday life and have become a safe space for oppressed individuals to band together, mature in their identities, and explore their senses of self. The promotion of positive representations of LGBTQ+ individuals on various media platforms could promote more positive online and offline interactions between those within the LGBTQ+ community and those outside of it. The present study analyzes how positive and negative media and social media representations of the LGBTQ+ community may affect attitudes towards the community from both those within the community and those outside of it. By measuring sexual orientation, media usage, and awareness of and prescription to prejudices and stereotypes, it was possible to study the effects of positive and negative media on attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community.