May 2010 Archives

Rachel Smith, assistant professor of Communication Arts & Sciences, was a visting scholar and featured scientist this spring at the Penn State Methodology Center. Here's a story from their online news section about a recent article by Professor Smith.

Smith, R. A., & Fink, E. (2010). Compliance dynamics within a simulated friendship network I: The effects of agency, tactic, and node centrality. Human Communication Research, 36, 232-260.

Read article online

Abstract:  This study investigated the structural causes of perceptions of power and the way that these perceptions create expectations regarding influence attempts. It applied measures derived from dynamic social impact theory to model predictions of target compliance and agent response to an influence attempt. Sociograms provided the structure within which compliance dynamics were investigated. Results from an experiment (N = 458) showed that structural positions with greater eigenvector and betweenness centrality generated stronger perceived power, and that observers' attributions regarding responses to a compliance request follow a systematic three-step process--agent acts, target responds, and agent reacts. The model, reflecting agency, influence tactic, and power, formalizes the attributional process that observers employ when evaluating compliance requests.
Penn State takes strategic planning seriously, and as the academic year draws to a close, staff and administration continue to refine the plans and the choices to achieve those plans as they create budgets, engage in ongoing faculty and staff reviews, and prepare for the new year.

For reference, here are the Penn State Strategic Plan for 2009-2014 and the College of the Liberal Arts Strategic Plan for 2008-2013. These University and College strategic plan create the context for our planning in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Carla Fisher

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Professor Michael Hecht sends us the following news --

I thought you might like this link for a wonderful story about Carla Fisher, a recent PhD from our program. Dr. Fisher is doing incredible, interdisciplinary work to help women cope with and recover from breast cancer. As the article notes, "The new study is an extension of research Fisher conducted while working on her doctoral dissertation at Pennsylvania State University that looked at how women diagnosed in young, middle and later adulthood adapt to breast cancer through their mother-daughter communication." Her doctoral work was directed by Jon Nussbaum. . . .


Michael Hecht
Distinguished Professor
Communication Arts and Sciences
501 Keller
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802
Office:  814 865 0945
FAX: 814 863 7986

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