Professor Chen-Chao Tao Receives the Fulbright Scholarship

Project

The role of orienting responses in mediated message processing

Abstract

  Orienting responses (ORs) elicited by media stimuli play a crucial role in mediated message processing. The prevalent view holds that ORs indicate the occurrence of automatic processing, which allocates more resources to processing information and leads to better memory. Hence, media features which can elicit ORs are viewed as a guarantee of direct media effects. However, the aforementioned view implies that automatic processing will always reach conscious awareness, while this assumption is never been tested. Recent eye tracking studies show that automatic processing may operate outside conscious awareness; that is, subjects moved their eyes toward certain objects but failed to recognize or recall any of them later. This project argues that ORs is not the indicator of automatic processing, but the indicator of the transition from automatic to controlled processing, which in turn results in conscious awareness. Moreover, eye movements and hear rate are used to distinguish explicit (eye movements with the decrease in heart rate) and implicit (eye movements without the decrease in hear rate) automatic processing. Four studies are designed to examine the proposed model.