Introduction: Multimedia, Multi-Art LC4MP Edition

By Edo Steinberg

Last month Annie Lang ran into former Telecom graduate student Sam Bradley at Atlanta airport. Sam, now an associate professor at the University of South Florida, asked Annie if she knew about the YouTube video dedicated to her model – Limited Capacity Model of Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP). She immediately looked it up on her phone. The song, by Whirli Placebo (whose names makes us feel better for no good reason), with lyrics, is embedded below. Not to be constrained to only one art form, we also include Graduate Program Administrator Tamera Theodore’s sketch of Whirli Placebo’s conception of the LC4MP model, as well as a dramatic reading of the lyrics by Annie.

Annie took an immediate liking to the song. However, as a department dedicated to rigorous scholarship, we cannot publish theory-based music without objectively examining its scientific merits. We therefore requested an expert review by Dr. Bradley.

This is the first time anyone has ever written a song about Annie’s research. As far as we can tell, this is a first for anyone in our department. I would like to point out to Mr. Placebo that Annie’s latest theory – Dynamic Human Centered Communication Systems Theory (DHCCST) – is worthy of a musical adaptation, too.

LC4MP by Tamera Theodore

LC4MP by Tamera Theodore

The Song: LC4MP by Whirli Placebo

The Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing

Music and Lyrics by Whirli Placebo

The Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing
might sound like a mouthful but it is undoubtful a child of science progressing
i will try to explain it to you
and hopefully when we are through
your brain will be changed … rearranged … and never ever be second guessing

this is the: Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing

every message you get is stuffed in your head and is processed in finite ways
encoded stored and retrieved and conceived to come into your head and stay
it can be automatic sometimes traumatic
and i dont be to be too dramatic
but your brain has only so much space to keep all those thoughts in place

this is the: Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing – lets break it down

advertisers want a piece of your time
they assault you with words, pictures or rhymes
(they know) a brain overloaded will not be encoded
unless your current state of mind is demoted
so they try to slip that mediated message deep into your mind

now heres where things get a little bit tricky
new thoughts are not always so sticky
facebook and google want inside your noodle
so they can sell all that shit to your poodle
so they kiss your mind real fine and try to give you a hickey

in a split second moment thoughts start to foment
and either you do or maybe you doeee nt
become susceptible to things imperceptible
the bottom line: its all biochemical
in this advertising drone warfare you’re treated like an opponent
waterboarded till you become a proponent
blitzkrieged till you start buying more donuts

shut up whirli
i love my donuts
i love my poodle
i love shooping
oodles and oodles

The Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing –
Wont put up with your protesting
because after all we’re all just a guinea pigs subjected to mass testing

Is the way it will be
So go online right now and buy some of my shit

© 2013 Whirli Placebo All Rights Reserved

Annie Lang – LC4MP Dramatic Reading

Dramatic reading by Annie Lang of Whirli Placebo’s LC4MP lyrics.

Expert Review of Whirli Placebo’s take on LC4MP

By Sam Bradley

What happens when a self-described “quirky, eclectic, original songwriter” meets a data-driven mass communication theory? With all due respect for creative license – and not nearly enough respect for avoiding wordplay – a newcomer’s capacity to encapsulate every nuance in song is, well, limited.

A catchy and lively tune, musician Whirli Placebo’s work captures several aspects of the theory with the mouthful of a lyric, “The Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing.” This more recent update of the theory swells the title with the addition of “motivated,” which made its formal debut in 2006 in the Journal of Communication.

Motivation, however, largely escaped the lyrics of this song, which appear to focus on the central concepts of encoding, storage, and retrieval from the earlier 2000 Journal of Communication piece.

Seemingly absent from the song is the idea that some information in the mediated (and real, of course) world is processed differently due to motivational relevance in the evolved appetitive and aversive motivational systems. We process certain information preferentially because doing so helped our ancestors survive and reproduce. The motivation exists in the individual rather than the message, an important distinction not among the lyrics.

Rather than concentrating on this biological basis, the song embraces the flavor of a protest song, focusing contempt upon the advertising industry with hints of subliminal persuasion. For students of the discipline, the song seems to take Annie Lang’s theory for the proverbial “hypodermic needle” or “magic bullet” of the past. Although modern marketers may yearn to convert minds so easily, a casual survey of the articles citing LC4MP show that many mass communication scholars struggle with the theory’s nuances. Advertisers are a far cry from being able to use the theory to craft stealthily persuasive messages.

Most importantly, however, the song accomplishes an important goal of a song: it entertains. Taken at this level, the song and accompanying video succeed. For someone with assumingly limited exposure to the theory – Placebo’s CV does not appear to be available online – the song makes clever use of key concepts of the theory and follows songwriting conventions (e.g., rhyming). If the purpose was to deliver a likable tune that strikes a chord among the theory’s fans and critics, then it is quite well done. However, graduate students would be well advised not to attempt a literature review based upon the YouTube video.

Sam Bradley (Ph.D., Indiana University) is  Associate Professor and Zimmerman Advertising Program Director, University of South Florida.

Coordinating Student Media on Campus

By Mona Malacane

The beard has been busy.


Since forming Indiana All-Media in the fall of 2012, Garrett Poortinga and other IAM execs have been building the organization by hosting workshops, running an informative blog, and even gearing up for the first IAM film festival. Looking to plan for the future, Garrett met with the Director of Student Life and Learning, Steve Veldkamp, to discuss IAM’s role in the new Media School. That conversation led to Steve setting Garrett up for a meeting with Penny Dillon, who went on to offer Garrett a part-time job with the newly formed Student Media Bureau.

The Student Media Bureau is an office under the large umbrella of the Division of Student Affairs. Garrett explained, “The Division of Student Affairs is doing a massive redesign of their entire website structure. The DSA is comprised of many, many offices and departments all over campus and they’re all silo-ed off. And this new website is supposed to be a way of bringing all of these voices together and presenting all of the information coherently. So it’s a big communications project.”

Garrett worked with Penny to staff the SMB. The SMB positions include a project coordinator (Garrett’s position), video producer, a video editor and marketer, a copy editor and content auditor, and a graphic designer. Together they have been working on a bunch of projects, but all of their activities have been in some way related to this new website. “We are coordinating a lot of different things and we are sort of this filter that things come through and we line it all up so that it all looks and feels and tastes the same … [To have] a unified message across all of those potential means of communication, from videos, to ads, to posters, to one on one contact, to website information.”

One of their ongoing projects is production of a series of “student spotlights” on student employees in the various departments under the DSA. Another project they are proposing is a revamp of the First Year Experience and Freshman Orientation marketing, branding, and accessories (e.g. water bottles and thumb drive sticks).

Most recently, the SMB worked with Culture of Care to produce a series of videos for April’s Culture of Care week. To give you a little background, the mission of Culture of Care is to (1) promote a culture and community of support by encouraging bystander intervention, and (2) to raise awareness about sexual well-being, mental health, alcohol and drug awareness, and respect. So, Garrett and his co-workers sat down with the Culture of Care execs to brainstorm (and to a lesser extent, help produce) ideas for videos that would demonstrate “care through action” for each of the CoC focus areas. Here is the video on inspiring interventions by bystanders:

You can see all of the videos for Culture of Care Week on their YouTube channel

Although Garrett’s creative input on the projects is somewhat limited by IU’s brand, the task of working with such a variety of student organizations still requires a creative approach. “My process is that I listen, I ask questions, I repeat the information that’s told to me … And then I really try to hear what the other person or group of people what are the problems they are encountering and what is the path of least resistance to their solution.” For instance, Garrett and the SMB graphic designer met with a woman in Student Life and Learning to look at their marketing materials. “They have had a student working on a lot of these materials but everything the student has been creating all look different. They don’t work together, they don’t speak the same message, and not only do they just not look together, but they don’t actually communicate the look and the feel of the Division of Student Affairs … So what we did was listen to what they were doing, what kind of time line they are on, what kind of deliverables they want [e.g. fliers, videos], what do they need, what do they have, and what are the things that we need from them to make this happen.”

It’s a process that Garrett enjoys, and he hopes to continue to work at SMB after graduating in May.

Ninth Brown Bag of the Semester – April 18, 2014

Daphna Yeshua-Katz, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

A Study of the Pro-anorexia Community

Abstract: Media scholars often employ concepts from Goffman’s dramaturgical approach to study online communities of stigmatized individuals as “backstage” and refuge from social disapproval. The goal of this presentation is to extend this view through an examination of conversations with pro-ana bloggers, an online community for people with eating disorders. This analysis takes on the challenge of fusing Goffman’s ideas about identity performance and stigma with more recent theories about boundary maintenance, in finding out how the pro-ana community uses an online environment that is both anonymous and public. In-depth interviews with pro-ana members reveal that in order to protect this virtual group and resist the stigma associated with their illness and with their online presence, they construct their own norms and rules in the online realm.

Teresa Lynch, Ph.D. Student, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Nothing to fear? An analysis of frightening video game experiences

Abstract: A survey of 269 college-aged individuals was conducted to examine reports of fright experiences caused by video games. The results of the study reveal that, similar to other media, video games can indeed evoke fear experiences with over half of the participants reporting game-induced fear. Sex, sensation seeking, and empathy all emerged as important individual differences in fright experience in terms of enjoyment of frightening content, consumption of frightening content, and frequency of fright
experience. Participants identified interactivity as a significant contributor to fearPresentations of realism in terms of both graphical integrity and real world potentiality evoked fear. This study provides the first identification of game titles, stimuli, and features specific to this medium that affect the fright experience.

Anthony’s Trip To Cornell

By Mona Malacane

If you’ve been looking for Anthony Almond lately, you may have noticed that he has been rather scarce around the department. Other than travelling to Las Vegas for the BEA conference last week, he has also been busy jetting up to Ithaca, New York to visit Cornell University, where he had been invited by Dr. So Yeon-Yoon to help set up a research lab in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis. At the recommendation of one of Anthony’s professors at Missouri (Dr. Kevin Wise), where he did his master’s, Dr. Yoon contacted Anthony earlier this year for his expertise with psychophysiological instruments. He has helped set up several psychophysiology labs in the past and, of course, works in the ICR, so Anthony has years of experience hooking people up to machines and zapping them (Just kidding, he would never do that.)

Dr. Yoon’s lab is the Design User Experience Technology Lab (D.U.E.T Lab) within the College of Human Ecology. She plans to use the lab to develop “an exploratory design/visual merchandizing research line using psychophysiological measures.” In other words, she plans to examine physiological responses to different virtual experiences of, say, a restaurant or a retail store. The lab is about two times the size of the grad lab, with a screen on an entire wall. This screen is used for an immersive, life-sized, 3D experience “… to test emotional [and] psychological responses to designed environments while controlling any visual variable.” As an example, Anthony talked about how the screen could be used to show a doctor’s office with a TV in the virtual office that displayed health tips and then this set-up could be used to examine the reception and processing of health information.

The first day of his visit included a tour of the beautiful campus, while the second day was more hands on. In the workshop, Anthony showed Dr. Yoon and others how to use the machine software, the correct settings for their machines, how to clean and analyze the psychophys data, what certain signals meant, and also how to organize and prepare their lab space to be efficient and comfortable. Although the machines come with instructions, they don’t include settings that are specific to certain experiments or they may just be unclear, which is why it’s necessary to have someone experienced to help, Anthony explained.

trying to understand

The instructions don’t make no sense.

Because he has had the experience of setting up labs before, Anthony didn’t need to prepare much for the workshops he gave. He did, however, make sure to bring Rob’s textbook of psychophysiological measures, a kind of bible for all the different ways to zap people (Again, I’m totally kidding.).


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