Dr Kim’s research interests parallel her life experiences. These experiences sharpened her intellectual curiosity about media and communication. During her graduate years,she developed deeper interests in studying new media and political communication, particularly the impact of new media on social practices within politics, particularly on political communication processes. Her dissertation extended this area by investigating how uncivil political expressions among online discussants who self-identify as political partisans contribute to emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral outcomes that may inflame political polarization at the societal level. It explored whether, why, and how uncivil comments stimulate certain emotions such as shame that, in turn, lead to different perceptual, attitudinal, and behavioral responses among those who observe the uncivil expressions. More importantly, this study examined how emotional responses to uncivil comments differ when the uncivil comments are made by people who share the same partisan identity in contrast to situations when comments originate from people whose partisan identities are in opposition. Furthermore, the dissertation examined how the existence of an online audience moderates the emotional effects of uncivil expressions among the same partisan and opposing partisan discussants. Given these goals, two experimental studies were conducted to investigate conditions and mechanisms that underlie the effects of uncivil expressions enacted by the same partisans as well as opposing partisans, developing several sequential mediation models. In the end, findings of this research contributed to development of a big picture perspective of online incivility and to suggest ways that civil and healthy online discussions may be promoted in the future. In addition to individual uses of new media in the political communication process, she has examined how organizations such as environmental advocacy groups and government agencies use social media to effectively send their messages, develop networks, and mobilize adherents to collaborate and interact globally. Currently, she is examining how cities like San Francisco are using new media, mobile applications in this case, to effectively communicate with residents and to provide city services at lower costs. For those studies, questions were asked mainly to recommend better strategies to disseminate information and communicate with others. While continuing with the topic of the impact of new media on political communication processes, my research interests have been extended to include studies on another mode of expression, visual communication. Specifically, she is currently involved in a grant project at the intersection of public health and visual communication examines how e-health infographics are used to facilitate optimum health message learning and encourage pro-health behaviors.
About the Speaker
Dr Ji Won Kim received her Ph.D., Journalism, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, December 2015