Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick has been a faculty member in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University since 2005, where she earned tenure in 2007 and received promotion to full professor in 2012. After receiving her doctorate at the Department of Communication Research at the University of Music, Drama, and Media Hanover, Germany, in 1999, she worked at institutions in the United States and Germany–as a post-doctoral fellow (U of Alabama), visiting professor (U of Michigan, TU Dresden), and assistant professor (U of California, Davis).
Dr. Knobloch-Westerwick serves as co-editor of Communication Research, a flagship journal of communication science. She has also served as managing editor of Media Psychology (2012-16) and as Graduate Studies Director (2014-15) in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, as well as chair of the International Communication Association nomination committee (2013-2015). She is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Media Psychology, and Health Communication.
Dr. Knobloch-Westerwick’s research examines the selection, processing, and effects of mediated communication. A key thread in her work pertains to antecedents and consequences of selective exposure to mediated messages. Her publications include three books; the latest monograph came out in 2015. Further, she has 33 peer-reviewed publications in flagship journals of the communication discipline (CR, JoC, HCR), in addition to about 40 publications in other peer-reviewed journals and 29 book chapters (per November 2016, published or in press).
Industry Expertise (6)
Writing and Editing
Media - Broadcast
Media - Online
Media - Print
Areas of Expertise (6)
Doris Gildea Morgan Scholarship Award for Senior Graduate Research (professional)
Awarded by the Ohio State University
University of Music, Drama, & Media - Hannover, Germany: Ph.D., Journalism and Communication Research 1999
University of Music, Drama, & Media - Hannover, Germany: M.A., Communication 1996
Leibniz-Akademie, Hannover, Germany: B.A., Business Administration 1992
Media Appearances (6)
Male scientists are more likely to be biased against studies of gender bias
In a final test, the researchers went back to Mechanical Turk, and recruited another 303 people. These people received a second abstract by Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick and colleagues at Ohio State University in Columbus. This paper, published in Science Communication in 2013, showed that people rank science conference abstracts more favourably if they are associated with male authors. This time, the researchers presented either the original abstract or an abstract that altered the findings to show no gender bias in conference abstract ranking. Men once again gave the abstract showing gender bias less positive rankings than women did. But when the paper was altered to show no bias, male views changed, and they liked the abstract more than the real, bias-demonstrating results. Smith and colleagues report their findings October 12 in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences...
Study: Satirical news not without real-life political effects
A study conducted by Ohio State professor of communication Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick showed that satirical news can be used as a tool to engage those who normally would not be interested in politics. The study also showed that, much like traditional news, people tended to choose stories that affirmed their previously held beliefs.
Knobloch-Westerwick spoke of her interest in the phenomenon of confirmation bias, or how people tend to digest information that echoes their beliefs. She said her interest in the study lays in the question, “Is this different if we think it’s just entertainment, it’s just satire, it’s nothing serious?”...
Satirical News Makes Real Impression On Viewers
People with high political interest tended to choose traditional news shows, while people with less political interest tended to choose the satirical clips. Those who chose satirical news shows tended to pick shows that reinforced their existing beliefs.
“We should just not dismiss those satire shows as just being funny and inconsequential. They definitely have an impact," says study author Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick.
Knobloch-Westerwick says Democrats tended to be a little more "open-minded" about enjoying satire from across the political aisle, while Republicans seemed to use confirmation bias by not viewing clips that went against their beliefs.
Crying At 'A Dog's Purpose' & Other Sad Movies Might Actually Make You Feel Better
But there may also be another reason why we feel better after watching a traumatic film: pure selfishness. As The Atlantic writes, basing its conclusion on research done by Ohio State, "This crying thing has nothing to do with catharsis. Seeing others in pain reminds us of how good we have it, finds research. 'People seem to use tragedies as a way to reflect on the important relationships in their own life, to count their blessings,' said researcher Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick."...
Smiling through the tears: Study shows how tearjerkers make people happier
"Tragic stories often focus on themes of eternal love, and this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings," said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University...
People Choose News That Fits Their Views
"The idea has been around for a very long time, but it has just never been proven," said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, a communications researcher at Ohio State University. "It's just considered textbook knowledge or lay common sense."...
Recent Research (5)
“Satirical news matters,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University.
“It is not just entertaining – it has a real-life impact on viewers.”
This research aimed to measure the impact of programs like The Daily Show, which use comedy and satire to examine political news of the day.
Knobloch-Westerwick conducted the study with Simon Lavis, a graduate student at Ohio State. The findings are published online in the Journal of Communication...
But this is not any kind of positive inspiration, said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University.
“Women get the message that they can look just like the models they see in the magazines, which is not helpful,” she said. “It makes them feel better at first, but in the long run women are buying into these thinness fantasies that just won’t come true.”...
“But when people are in a negative mood, they start to show more interest in the less attractive, less successful people on their social media sites,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University...
These findings suggest that women may still have a more difficult time than men succeeding in academic science, said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at The Ohio State University.
“There’s still a stereotype in our society that science is a more appropriate career for men than it is for women,” Knobloch-Westerwick said.
“Even among young graduate students, the faculty of tomorrow, such stereotypes are still alive.”...
“Tragic stories often focus on themes of eternal love, and this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University...