Seventh Brown Bag – October 31, 2014

Today’s brown bag featured four faculty members who currently are or who have served as journal editors: Annie Lang (Co-Editor, Media Psychology, 2008 – 2011), Radhika Parameswaran (Editor, Communication, Culture & Critique, 2014 – present), Harmeet Sawhney (Editor-in-Chief, The Information Society, 2004 – present), and David Waterman (Co-Principal Editor, Information Economics and Policy, 2005 – 2010; Coordinating Editor, 2008-2010). They spoke about the manuscript review process as well as what it takes to publish in top-flight journals – and answered questions, too.

Fifth Brown Bag – October 3, 2014


Annie Lang, Distinguished Professor, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Processing Substance Cues and Prevention Messages: Differences in Biological Responses and Motivated Cognition

This talk is about how the dynamic interaction of our perceptual, motivational, emotional, and cognitive systems when viewing substance cues and prevention public service announcements. Interactive effects of individual differences, age, use, and symbol system of information presentation are discussed.

An Appetite for Learning

By Mona Malacane

Who would take classes after achieving tenure, winning major grants, and earning the title of Distinguished Professor?

If you’ve taken T501 then you’ve heard her motto, “A PhD is a license to teach yourself.”

If you haven’t already guessed by now, I’m talking about the one and only Annie Lang. She practices what she preaches – that learning never stops –and if you can believe it, she enrolls in a course almost every semester. “The first time I took a class was when I was an assistant professor actually, and I took a class in Electrical Engineering on electrical circuits, circuit design, and I did that because at that time I was setting up my first psychophys lab and back then it wasn’t like how it is now, you couldn’t go buy a lab in a box. You had to buy equipment that was not made to do psychophysiology with and you literally had to solder it …  So I thought ‘well I just need to learn how to do this ’…  And I did.”

This semester, Annie is taking two courses: Dynamic Systems Theory (Q580, Cognitive Science) and Perception & Action (P651, Psychological & Brain Sciences). Initially, her plan was to only take Dynamic Systems but then she learned that Perception & Action, a rarely offered course, was being offered this semester and so of course she had to sign up for it as well. “Instead of just taking one which I probably could have handled without killing myself, I’m now taking two … It’s just like being a graduate student: I’m teaching one, taking two, and doing everything else professors have to do. So I’m actually busier probably than I’ve ever been in my whole life.”


She has also taken four semesters of Italian, Mathematical Psychology, two semesters of Calculus, a master gardening class … oh, and golf, just for the fun of it. But the most “meaningful” course Annie has ever taken is Developmental Psychology; a rather far cry from Electrical Engineering but necessary nonetheless because she had just won a grant that involved research on children and hadn’t taken a developmental course since grad school. She wasn’t expecting the course to have such a profound and lasting impact on her scholarship. “That’s where I first encountered Dynamic Systems approaches to Psychology … That’s when my paradigm first started rocking … And I still remember walking into Walt’s office about halfway through [the class] and I said, ‘well I’m in deep trouble. I think my paradigm is shifting.’”

[Please indulge me with this little detour from our interview which almost resulted in my death from laughter. Annie told me more about her professor for that course, Esther Thelen: “She was such a good teacher. She would always give you a question to write about the readings. And I would always do the reading and go ‘I don’t see what this question has anything to do with this reading’… which is of course what I do to students all the time … but I hadn’t had it done to me in a long time!”]

Being the tree-hugger that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed Annie’s analogy for the process of self-teaching/self-learning. She explained that when you’re teaching yourself, you don’t get “the whole tree.” “When you get a good class, it gives you the trunk and the big branches. And then after that you can always hang stuff.” But before you have the trunk and branches, you sometimes just have a bunch of knowledge to hang but no idea how to organize it.

Which kind of describes the entirety of graduate school when you think about it. We go to grad school because we have questions and stuff that we want to hang so we understand it better … So we find some good, solid trees and where to hang some of that stuff – also known as getting a PhD. But like Annie said, a PhD just gives you a license to teach yourself, so you’re constantly learning more about trees and collecting stuff that you want to hang and … wait a minute.

I see what you did there Annie... you're good.

I see what you did there Annie … you’re good.

Introduction: Multimedia, Multi-Art LC4MP Edition

By Edo Steinberg

Last month Annie Lang ran into former Telecom doctoral student Sam Bradley, now an associate professor at the University of South Florida, and his master’s advisor at Kansas State University, Bob Meeds, at Atlanta airport. Bob 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.

Second Brown Bag of the Semester – September 7, 2012

The audio from last Friday’s seminar can be found here: Brown Bag – September 7, 2012 (Annie Lang)

Annie Lang

“If not effects, WHAT?”

At ICA last year, I suggested that Effects Research might be considered to have been the first Kuhnian paradigm of the nascent discipline of mass communication and that, as a paradigm, it is now failing. The argument was made that we are now a discipline in crisis undergoing a period of extraordinary (as in non-paradigmatic) science and looking for a new paradigmatic theory/achievement. Joe Cappella asked me, “Well Annie, If not effects, what?” This talk is my response to Joe. I will present a new and largely untested theoretical approach embracing a new set of assumptions as a potential approach to guide future research in communication. This new approach is grounded in evolution, ecological perception, and dynamic systems theories and seeks to develop general communication theory applicable to mass, interpersonal, and all other types of human communication. I look forward to hearing people’s responses and critiques of these ideas.

Annie Lang, Ph.D. (UW – Madison), is a Distinguished Professor of Telecommunications and Cognitive Science at Indiana University.  Her research focuses on studying motivated cognition and media, with a long term goal of better understanding the interplay among parts of the dynamic system comprised of the embodied mind and the mediated message.  Her theoretical work focuses on extending the scope of the limited capacity model of mediated message processing (LC4MP), which seeks to identify structural and content aspects of all media which elicit automatic motivational and cognitive responses in media users and understand the interaction, over time, of those automatic processes with the motivated cognitive system, the individual differences embodied in media users and the user’s long term and momentary goals and intentions.  Lang, who began teaching at IU in 1995, has amassed over 75 refereed publications, 14 book chapters, nearly 150 refereed convention papers and more than 40 invited talks, many of which were presented outside the United States. In 2006, she was elected a fellow of the International Communications Association, and, in 2009, she was the recipient of ICA’s prestigious Steven H. Chaffee Career Productivity Award.