Deutsch Intern
Psychology of Communication and New Media

Research Projects

Stories can change attitudes, beliefs and behaviors (narrative persuasion). The processes likely underlying this effect differ from the processes described in classical dual process models of persuasion. Prior research has identified the immersion in the story world and identification with the characters’ perspective as important mechanisms of narrative persuasion. Empirical research on transportation, narrative engagement or identification emphasize the influence of emotions for the persuasion through stories. From classical dramas to stories from health communication, stories rely on the presentations of events that influence the quality and intensity of recipients’ emotional experiences. In this project the influence of emotional shifts is assessed in a series of experiments by using, among other approaches, psychophysiological methods and facial expression analysis.

Participants: Prof. Dr. Markus Appel (applicant), Prof. Dr. Tobias Richter (applicant), Julia Winkler (project staff) and Marie-Luise Schmidt (project staff) 

Funding Agency: DFG

Time: Summer 2018 - Summer 2021

The antecedents, consequences and correlates of the use of the internet more generally and social networking sites specifically is a matter of public concern and has attracted a substantial amount of scholarly attention. The goal of this research project is to examine the existing evidence by means of a series of meta-analyses, including the topics of narcissism, well-being, and school achievement.

More information and results can be found at:

Funding agency: DFG

Time:  Autumn 2015 - Autumn 2018

Participants: Prof. Dr. Markus Appel & Caroline Marker

Publications based on the project:

  • Marker, C., Gnambs, T., & Appel, M. (in press). Exploring the myth of the chubby gamer: A meta-analysis on sedentary video gaming and body mass. Social Science and Medicine.
  • Appel, M.Marker, C., & Gnambs, T. (2020). Are social media ruining our lives? A review of meta-analytic evidence. Review of General Psychology, 24, 60-74.
  • Appel, M., & Gnambs, T. (2019). Shyness and social media use: A meta-analytic summary of moderating and mediating effects. Computers in Human Behavior, 98, 294-301.
  • Gnambs, T., & Appel, M. (2018). Narcissism and social networking behavior: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality, 86, 200-212.
  • Marker, C., Gnambs, T., & Appel, M. (2018). Active on Facebook and failing at school? Meta-analytic findings on the relationship between online social networking activities and academic achievement. Educational Psychology Review, 30, 651-677.

Please find more about this international cooperation project on this website.

The robots are coming —what recently evolved as a highly popular headline in mass media around the world mirrors an ongoing acceleration of technological progress: from self-driving vehicles and autonomous delivery drones to your spaceman lookalike robo-assistant able to serve your future tea, the industry announces their current prototypes to become commonplace technologies within the next two decades. Among the various forms of such autonomous systems, social service robots of more or less humanlike appearance represent one of the key fields (Mara & Appel, 2014). Based on the uncanny valley hypothesis, several studies will examine predictors of individuals'  acceptance of this new technology.

Funding agency: DFG

Time:  Autumn 2015 - Autumn 2018

People read, watch or listen to mediated narratives (stories) on a daily basis. For a long time philosophers, politicians, and religious leaders have considered stories as a powerful means to change real-world attitudes and beliefs of the audience. Meanwhile, a large body of studies from psychology and communication science has demonstrated that stories are indeed an efficient means of persuasion. The persuasive impact of narratives on beliefs has been attributed to the potency of stories to engage recipients and to make them feel absorbed and transported into the story world. Confirming this assumption, previous research has shown that recipients who report to be more deeply transported are more strongly persuaded by the narrative. However, the psychological mechanisms facilitating persuasion under high transportation remain unclear.

The goal of this research project is to examine the cognitive and emotional processes involved in transportation that underlie the persuasive influence of narratives. Starting from research on narrative experience and persuasion, language comprehension, and two-system models of human information processing, we outline four likely mediational pathways of narrative persuasion.

Funding agency:  FWF und DFG (Lead Agency Actions), transfer of the project from Johannes Kepler University, Linz to University of Koblenz-Landau, November 2013

Time  July 2012-June 2016

A high educational level plays a crucial role for the economic development of nations. According to the OECD, the differences in educational achievement between adolescents with or without an immigration background (particularly regarding Turkish or Ex-Yugoslavian background) are larger in Austria than in almost all other countries. The proposed project deals with social psychological processes that will be examined and inspected with regard to reducing educational achievement gaps. The project is based on research pointing out that minorities are faced with extra-burdens which reduce their cognitive performance in educational settings (stereotype and  social identity threat). The four planned studies extend previous research to adolescents with an immigrant background and examine identity strength as a moderating factor. The results obtained are meant to help reduce the educational achievement gap in Austria.

Funding agency:  Jubiläumsfonds der Österreichischen Nationalbank

Time:  August 2012 - August 2014