In our research and teaching, we focus on the dynamics of society and communication. We study media content, media use, and media effects. Two overarching research questions address our main perspective:
- How do people communicate and learn about various issues and aspects of social ‘reality’– through the means of individual-level as well as mass communication?
- How do these depictions of ‘reality’ affect individual recipients of communication as well as the media audience as a whole?
To answer these general questions, we study various topics and settings, for example:
- How are social groups (e.g. ethnic minorities, people with disabilities) represented in the mass media? How do these portrayals affect prejudice against, stereotypes about, and behavior towards these groups among the general population?
- How do the mass media cover political issues during campaigns? Which impact does this coverage have on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of citizens?
- How do the dynamics of issues and frames unfold in media coverage as well as in the ‘pictures in our heads’?
- Which part does emotion play in media effects on recipients?
- How does advertising affect perceptions, attitudes, and consumer behavior? What is special about the effects of program-integrated advertising, e.g. product placements?
- What impact do portrayals of ideals of attractiveness have on individuals’ body image and health-related behavior?
- How do presumptions about media and their effects shape the production, use, and effects of media content?