Study at OSU Finds We Still Like Moral Characters Best

A new study of popular media found that even though the cinemascape is filled with villains we can sympathize with and heroes full of flaws we can’t forgive we like characters most when they are moral.

The study noted that participants liked heroes they rated as “most moral” and most disliked villains they rated as “most immoral.”

Characters like Walter White from the popular television show Breaking Bad who are morally ambiguous were more complicated for people to rate, however across all character types morality and likability were more than noticeably linked.

While media experts have long intuited that morally upstanding heroes are more likeable, the rise of the antihero in our culture’s media and the gusto with which we cheer for them brought this into question.

Researchers wanted to ask, does morality matter anymore?

Given lots of examples to rate on scales of likeability and morality some two hundred college students demonstrated that the simple fact is despite character type likeability is linked, inexorably, to morality.

Researchers discussed the fact that morally ambiguous characters are the hardest to predict outcome-wise and that relativity comes into play. If plot and perspective cast a Walter White type character as the villain, he would mostly like be disliked by most viewers. Whereas in Breaking Bad he is still more moral than many of the other main characters cast as villains.

The Journal of Media Psychology will publish these findings in print.

How People With Relationship Issues Consume Media

Folks who have trouble with romantic relationships may use movies and television as a way to experience what they have trouble with in real life. A new study suggests that those with attachment issues are more likely to be engaged in the stories of the media they consume. Meaning they feel more connected to the characters and think about they, the viewer, would do in the characters’ situations.

The results further suggest this provides a consequence free space in which to deal with relationships issues.

The study examined a little over one thousand Americans eighteen or older. It examined to facets of attachment in romantic relationships—avoidance an anxiety. Those who score high in avoidance tend to keep an emotional distance from their partners. Those who score high in anxiety are what we colloquially refer to as “needy”. In other words, they need constant validation their partner cares about them.

The participants also answered lots of questions about how they engage with the media they consume. Without much surprise, those who scored highly in avoidance, but low in anxiety felt very little connection to the characters and their problems. According to researchers, they treat the characters as they do people in their real lives. So then, those who scored high in anxiety were strongly connected to the stories and characters from their media consumption.

Most interesting were those that scored high in both avoidance and anxiety. They were the most absorbed with the stories and characters in the media they consumed. They made comments saying that the media helped them understand people they weren’t familiar with. That they imagined the outcomes of different choices the characters could have made. That they liked to imagine they new the characters personally.

E-Cigarette Advertising Frighteningly Effective on Teenage Boys, New Study Finds

It seems “fake news” style ads being employed by e-cigarette companies can be fairly effective among young people.

Currently the FDA requires large warnings about the addictive chemical nicotine present in e-cigarette products. Before that law went into effect, e-cigarette company Blu took advantage of the idea and the space on its packaging by including a fake warning; the warning mimics almost exactly similar warnings on cigarette packing and the warnings now in effect on e-cigarette products.

The messages featured the large print, all capital word IMPORTANT. Following this were slogans such as “contains flavor” or “less harmful to your wallet” followed. Below the “fake” warnings were actual warnings about the product contents.

A new study by Ohio State University faculty, published in the journal “Tobacco Control”, found that these fake warning messages stuck with teenage boys who viewed them.
In the study which used the fake warnings from Blu’s Something Better marketing campaign, twenty-seven percent said the fake warning was what they remembered most from the packaging. As stunning nineteen percent could even repeat the fake warning slogans with accuracy.

These same teens had much lower odds of being able to recall the true warnings about the product contents and health risks compared to boys who looked at other e-cigarette package based marketing. All packaging and advertising viewed used the smaller, real warning at the bottom of the ad or packaging.

While current law would prohibit a copy cat campaign by any e-cigarette product, the study does reveal how powerful marketing can be when it comes to tobacco and related products and young people and could inform future policy on advertising such products to young people.

Counseling Reduces Cancer Recurrence, Says New Study

Breast cancer patients, two years after receiving diagnosis, have quadrupled their positive thoughts regarding the changes their bodies have gone through due to their illness, according to a new study.

Survivors who attended mentoring or counseling services designed specifically for cancer patients were found to have even more positive life changes. This particular study examined 160 women (all either had been diagnosed with stage 2 or 3 breast cancer) and were all treated in the Columbus area.

All the survivors who participated were part of the Immunity and stress Breast Cancer Program that looked into how effective counseling and intervention programs, designed by OSU, to help cancer patients handle the hurdles of their conditions and if counseling lowered the recurrence risks.

Previous research by the program had shown such programs did in fact reduce such risks.

New Study Finds Watching College Football Socially May Be Mental Health Boon

College football fans may get a boost in their self-esteem when a team wins a game. The boost could last up to two days, according to new research. While the loosing side may see a decrease in mood, they won’t suffer any self-esteem loss. Both sides may see benefits when they watch games with friends.

The study examined 174 students from OSU and Michigan State after an essential game that took place 21 Nov. 2019. Michigan bested OSU 17-14 in this contest.

The participants were asked many questions about their mental health and relaxation activities. The wide range of questions kept students from suspecting the purpose of the study. Before game time, both sides were rated similarly on self-esteem. Sunday after the game Michigan students rated much higher on self-esteem, and this went up even higher when they were tested Monday. The Buckeye students had very little measurable difference.

The study found that students on both sides experienced the most positive results if they experienced the game as a social activity, regardless of victory or loss.