Graduate Student Research

Kirby Cook

Our faculty work with graduate students across departments including in the MS Advertising program and the ICR doctoral program. Graduate students are active scholars across many areas of advertising, communication, and media. 

Learn more about research topics that students have pursued in their master's theses and dissertations in the following areas:

Advertising & Marketing

How down to earth are you? An exploratory study regarding green advertising and generation Z consumers
Moore, Alexus • 2022
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R
Keywords: greenwashing, generation z, mixed-methods, interviews, surveys

Outdoor sports brands’ strategies for building Instagram brand community
Zhang, Jennifer Shiyue • 2020
Advisor: Su, Leona Yi-Fan
Keywords: Online Brand Community, Engagement, Outdoor Sports Brands, Instagram, Content Analysis

Exploration of parental media literacy and parental mediation strategies for advertainment content featuring popular media characters*
Ahn, Regina Jihea • 2019
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R.
Keywords: advertising, advertainment, children, media literacy, persuasion knowledge, parental mediation, media characters

Exploring the effects of mood states, cultural background, and the congruity between ad appeal and product type on consumers’ attitudes and purchasing intentions
Shen, Doreen • 2018 
Advisor: Sar, Sela
Keywords: Mood, culture, product type, message appeal, information processing, incongruity

Self-endorsing effect of brand filters: How the self, self-congruity, and perceived self-expressiveness lead to persuasion
Yang, Rachel • 2018
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: self-endorsing effect, self-referencing, self-expressiveness, filters, purchase intention

Assimilation and contrast, and order of presentation effects on attitudes toward advertising
Cui, Shuoying • 2016
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Contrast and assimilation, Order of presentation

The golden touch: how screen touches influence product attitude and purchase intention
Hu, Xiaohan • 2016
Advisor: Wise, Kevin
Keywords: Touch interface, Advertising, Consumer behavior, Online Shopping

How walking forward influences people's emotional response to and memory for stimuli viewed on a mobile phone
Ren, Yilin • 2015
Advisor: Wise, Kevin
Keywords: Embodied cognition, Emotion response, Memory, Conceptual, Perceptual

"I think I just saw another version of it": an investigation of product placement - ad congruity and exposure timing on product recognition and attitude"
Advisor: Xiong, Shili • 2015
Advisor: Brittany Duff
Keywords: Product Placement, Webpage Ad, Congruity, Ad Exposure Timing, Product Recognition, Product Attitude

Which creates the bigger halo: cause-related marketing or cause-sponsorship?
Restko, Amy • 2015
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Cause-related marketing, Cause sponsorship, Halo effects, Involvement

Environmental advertising and food products: Is there an ideal matchup?
Menezes Zimbres, Thais • 2014
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick T.
Keywords: Environmental Advertising, Food, Congruency Effects

To buy or not to buy?: how price-conscious store brand users respond to upward sub-branding
Liu, Xinyang • 2014
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick T.
Keywords: Store Brand, Sub-branding, Price-consciousness, Backfire

New Media & Technology

Using chatbots to correct COVID-19 misinformation: a controlled experiment
Gong, Ziyang • 2022
Advisor: Su, Leona Yi-Fan
Keywords: chatbot, conversational agent, empathy, interactivity, misperception, vaccination intention, COVID-19

Trust in human or machine? Exploring the effect of anthropomorphic cues on user self-disclosure toward a chatbot
Liu, Weizi • 2019
Advisor: Yao, Mike Z
Keywords: Media Equation, CASA, Anthropomorphism, Self-disclosure

Narrative message and virtual reality: the impact of telepresence and transportation on consumer learning in the real estate industry
Chen, Chen • 2018
Advisor: Yao, Mike
Keywords: virtual reality, telepresence, transportation, message evidence, narrative, statistical

Player-character identification by personality matching, perceived personalization and positive/negative in-game experience
Guo, Danyang • 2017
Advisor: Yao, Mike Z
Keywords: Game, Identification, Personality, Game character, Player

Mobile phone in your personal bubble: the effect of physical environment and personalized information on mobile advertising
Xiao, Bei • 2017
Advisor: Yao, Mike
Keywords: Mobile devices, Mobile advertising, Personalization, Personal space 

The interplay of advertising choice and involvement on psychological reactance, attitudes, and intentions in the context of online video advertising
Ahn, Regina • 2014
Advisor: Ham, Chang Dae
Keywords: Advertising, Ad Selector, Choice, Involvement, Reactance, Attitudes, Intentions


Cross-cultural recommender system use and design*
Tian, Kathy • 2020
Advisor: Yao, Mike
Keywords: Cross-Culture, Recommendation Systems, User Design

From Soviet deficit to American inundation: Examining consumer attitudes toward country of origin and corporate social responsibility advertising strategies across cohorts in Ukraine
Sobolev, Victoria • 2018
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R.
Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Bi-national products, Country of origin effects, Cohort, Ukraine, Transitional economy Procter & Gamble, Soviet Union, Purchase intention, Global Advertising Strategy

Consumer Culture Theory

Evaluating gender in retail servicescapes: Beyond the heteronormative binary approach
Cook, Kirby Margeson Lee • 2021
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R
Keywords: retail, marketing, servicescapes, gender, identity, advertising

Commodifying consciousness: A visual analysis and discussion on neoliberal multiculturalism in advertising
Moultrie, Jasmine L. • 2019
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R
Keywords: neoliberal multiculturalism, advertising, critical discourse analysis, womanism, visual grammar theory, intersectionality, social semiotics

"Social class consciousness and consumer culture in transition—exploring the ""new poor"" in Taiwan and the U.S." *
Chen, Wei-Fen • 2016
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R.
Keywords: Consumer Culture, Social Mobility

Media Psychology

Exploring the role of control in digital advertising effectiveness*
Hu, Xiaohan • 2022
Advisor: Wise, Kevin
Keywords: Perceived control, User control, Personalization, Advertising effects, Eye tracking

How do tactile interactions and movement orientations affect information processing of search engine results pages (SERPS) on mobile devices? *
Ren Yilin • 2022
Advisor: Wise, Kevin
Keywords: mobile device, tactile interaction, information processing

The extended organism: A framework for examining strategic media skill in a digital ecology
Hamilton, Kristy Ann • 2020*
Advisor: Yao, Mike
Keywords: strategic media skill, digital media, memory, cognition, human-computer interaction, experimental psychology

An exploration account of media multitasking: The exploration-exploitation model to explain media multitasking behavior
Gong, Xuanjun • 2019
Advisor: Duff, Brittany
Keywords: Media Multitasking, Exploration-Exploitation Trade-off, Decision-making, Curiosity, Intrinsic Motivation

Self-presentation on social media – when self-enhancement confronts self-verification in a virtual public space*
Zheng, Anlan • 2019
Advisor: Duff, Brittany
Keywords: Social media, Self-enhancement, Self-verification, Self-presentation

Cultural differences on placebo effects elicited by pharmaceutical ads
Xu, Jing • 2017
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Placebo effects, Cultural difference, Dialectical thinking propensity, Pharmaceutical ads

The interaction between consumers’ communication style and arousal on persuasion and variety-seeking*
Kulpavaropas, Supathida • 2017
Advisor(s): Sar, Sela, Vargas, Patrick T.
Keywords: social media, brand equity, data analytics, BERT

Visuals, inferences, and consumers' biased information seeking*
Ryu, Sann Hee • 2017
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Visual biasing effects, Inferential beliefs, Brand attitudes, Confirmation bias, Selective exposure

The effects of multitasking and mood on ad memory: in the case of a competitive ad context
Zhang, Duduo • 2016
Advisor: Sar, Sela
Keywords: multitasking, mood

The effects of motivation and progress framing on goal pursuit
Lee, Eun Kyoung • 2016
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Motivation, Progress, Goal pursuit

Jack of all trades in the era of media: multitasking and attentional influences on advertising effectiveness
Zheng, Anlan • 2015
Advisor: Brittany Duff
Keywords: Multitasking, Advertising Effectiveness

Source of information: perceptions of trustworthiness and beyond in eWOM
Varabyova, Veranika • 2015
Advisor: Nelson, Michelle R.
Keywords: Trustworthiness, word-of-mouth, social media, Relational, Individual and Collective Self-aspects, sources of information online, information source evaluation

An examination of how attention influences exposure effects: target selection, distractor devaluation and mere exposure
Yao, Jiachen • 2015
Advisor: Duff, Brittany
Keywords: attention, mere exposure, target selection, distractor devaluation

Studies of embodied cognition and metaphor*
Yoon, Gunwoo • 2015
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Embodied cognition, Metaphor

The effectiveness of advertising among media multitaskers: The effects of argument strength and endorser attractiveness
Ryu, Sann • 2014
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick T.
Keywords: Media Multitaskers, Media Multitasking, Advertising, Information Processing, Consumer Behavior, Consumer Perception

Branded entertainment in emotional scenes: excitation transfer or direct affect transfer? *
Mitchell, Tale • 2014
Advisor(s): Nelson, Michelle R., Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Emotion, Arousal, Valence, Advertising, Branded Product Placement, Excitation Transfer, Direct Affect Transfer

Computational Advertising and Media 

The effects of thematic versus taxonomic categorization on choice overload when choosing university classes
Yun, Joseph • 2014
Advisor: Duff, Brittany
Keywords: Choice Overload, Mere Categorization, Thematic Categorization, Too Much Choice

Analyzing the boundaries of balance theory in evaluating cause-related marketing compatibility*
Yun, Joseph T. • 2018
Advisor: Duff, Brittany
Keywords: cause-related marketing, social media analytics, fit, compatibility, brands, machine-learning, balance theory, attitude strength

Mining brand-related tweets for brand monitoring with consumer-based brand equity classification and sentiment analysis*
Yao, Jiachen • 2022
Advisor: Sar, Sela
Keywords: social media, brand equity, data analytics, BERT

Message Effects

How different types of anticipated regret advertising messages interact with mood to influence purchase intention
Wang, Mia • 2017
Advisor: Sar, Sela
Keywords: Anticipated regret, Mood

Narrative advertising copy with hedonic and utilitarian products: when does narrative persuasion attenuate?
Lu, Xin • 2015
Advisor: Vargas, Patrick
Keywords: Narrative, Persuasion, Transportation, Advertisement

Imagine this: a test of imagination, message framing and reference-level on attitude, self-efficacy and intention to perform exercise
Shancer, Matthew Paul • 2017
Advisor: Wirtz, John G.
Keywords: Imagination, Message framing, Self-referencing, Self-efficacy, Physical activity, Advertising, Health, Theory of planned behavior

Public Relations

The effectiveness of corporate social responsibility in corporate crises: from the perspective of assimilation – contrast effects and attribution theory
Nyarko, Akua Yeboaa • 2017
Advisor: Ham, Chang Dae
Keywords: Crisis, Corporate social responsibility (CSR)


Note: These are master’s theses and dissertations. Information compiled for 2014-2023, by year and theme; compiled from the IDEALS database with student researcher key words:

* stands for dissertation