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Benjamin Johnson - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Benjamin Johnson

Associate Professor/Director | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Benjamin Johnson’s research focuses on the social psychology of media use including how people construct their media routines and habits.


Benjamin Johnson is an associate professor of advertising and the interim director of the STEM Translational Communication Center in the College of Journalism and Communications. His areas of research include motivations for and effects of social media use, the effectiveness of newer forms of persuasive messages such as influencers and sponsored content, and how people engage with narrative and characters in media storytelling. He is a leading expert on topics such as spoilers, doomscrolling and vicarious media experiences. Benjamin's research focuses on the social psychology of media use: How people construct their media routines and habits, and how media content is used to manage emotions, beliefs and the self-concept.

Areas of Expertise (15)


Confirmation Bias





Social Media


Media use



Native Ads




Media Appearances (3)

UF researchers on negative effects of ‘doomscrolling’

WINK, Fort Myers  tv


Swiping and swiping, negative news article after negative news article, for minutes or even hours. It’s called “doomscrolling,” and you may be surprised to catch yourself doing it, but it’s not uncommon, and the cycle is hard to break despite the negative effects it may have on you.

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UF students turn to ‘comfort TV’ amid pandemic

The Independent Florida Alligator  print


When the world turns to chaos, the people turn to television. The pandemic was enough to make stress a familiar feeling to 21-year-old UF biology junior Toshita Barve. While she said the early months of lockdown had her mostly bored and restless, the added academic pressure of online classes led her to feel overwhelmed toward the start of the Fall semester.

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The case for spoilers

Vox  online


On the evening of March 15, 2015, across America, phones shoved into jeans pockets or left to rest on dinner tables buzzed to life with a New York Times news alert, which was also tweeted from the newspaper’s official account. “Breaking News: In Documentary, Robert Durst Says He ‘Killed Them All,’” the alert read. The documentary was The Jinx, HBO’s six-part miniseries about the eccentric real estate heir Robert Durst and the murders he may or may not have committed, and that night, the final episode was set to air.

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Articles (3)

Sharing brands on social media: The roles of behavioural commitment and modality in identity shift

International Journal of Consumer Studies

Benjamin K. Johnson and Judith E. Rosenbaum


People who publicly exhibit behaviours on social media adjust their sense of self accordingly, a process known as identity shift. This manuscript reports on two experiments that extend identity shift research, applying it to consumer engagement with media brands on social media. In the first study (N = 150), participants liked or shared brands' social media posts using their own Facebook accounts.

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Seeking Spoilage: The Impact of Content Challenge, Self-Control, and Traits on Spoiler Selection

Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media

Kevin Kryston, et al.


Two experiments examined whether perceived content challenge, self-control, and trait variables predicted participants’ choice of a spoiled/unspoiled movie review. Study 1 found that perceived content challenge influenced spoiler selection as a function of need for cognition. Self-control had no effect. In Study 2, participants chose spoilers when content was perceived to be cognitively challenging but not affectively challenging. Need for affect moderated these effects.

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Like the dad in the ad: Testing a conceptual model for new fathers’ responses to dadvertisements

International Journal of Advertising

Sophia Mueller, et al.


Dadvertising—advertisements that portray dads as active caretakers—is predicted to be particularly relevant to men who are new or first-time fathers. This research tests a conceptual model for understanding the effects of anxiety, wishful identification, and emotional response on new and expectant dads’ empowerment, attitude toward the dadvertisement, and attitude toward the brand.

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