Melissa Robinson

Photo Not Available
Assistant Professor, Corporate Communication
Office Phone
Office Location
Eberly Building, 206M
2201 University Drive
Lemont Furnace, PA 15456

    Dr. Robinson is an Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication. She researches in the areas of health and mass communication, publishing in flagship journals, including Communication Research and Human Communication Research.

    Research Interests

    Health communication, media effects, narrative persuasion, selective exposure, social cognitive theory, sleep, body image.


    The role of affect in selective exposure to media messages - January 1, 2022
    Collaborator: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    “Affective News” & attitudes: A multi-topic study of attitude impacts from political news and fiction, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly [Impact Factor: 4.128] - December 1, 2021
    Collaborators: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author; Rebecca Frazer, Co-Author; Emily Schutz, Co-Author

    Narratives’ impacts on political attitudes: Do signaling of persuasive intent and fictionality matter? , Communication Studies [Impact Factor: 1.28] - July 5, 2021
    Collaborators: Rebecca Frazer, Co-Author; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    News as entertainment format: Applying affective disposition theory and the affective news extended model - March 1, 2021
    Collaborator: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    Peers versus pros: Confirmation bias in selective exposure to user-generated versus mass media messages and its consequences, Mass Communication and Society [Impact Factor: 3.309] - 2020
    Collaborators: Axel Westerwick, Co-Author; Daniel Sude, Co-Author; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    Seeking inspiration through health testimonials: Improving mother’s self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and behaviors in handling children’s sleep behavior, Health Communication [Impact Factor: 3.198] - September 16, 2020
    Collaborator: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    Beauty or business queen--How young women select media messages to reinforce their possible future selves, Communication Research [Impact Factor: 3.64] - April, 2020
    Collaborators: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author; Laura Willis, Co-Author; Kate Luong, Co-Author

    "Pick and choose” opinion climate: How browsing of political messages shapes public opinion perceptions and attitudes, Communication Monographs [Impact Factor: 8.667] - 2019
    Collaborators: Daniel Sude, Co-Author; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author; Axel Westerwick, Co-Author

    Picture yourself healthy—How media users select images to shape health intentions and behaviors, Health Communication [Impact Factor: 3.198] - 2019
    Collaborators: Brianna Wilson, Co-Author; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    The role of humor in messaging about the about the MMR vaccine, Journal of Health Communication [Impact Factor: 2.781] - 2018
    Collaborators: Emily Moyer-Guse, Co-Author; Jessica McKnight, Co-Author

    Bedtime stories that work: The effect of protagonist liking on narrative persuasion, Health Communication [Impact Factor: 3.198] - 2017
    Collaborator: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    Mood’s role in selective exposure to health and risk information - March, 2017
    Collaborator: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    Mood management through selective media use for health and well-being - 2016
    Collaborator: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    The allure of Aphrodite: How gender-congruent media portrayals impact adult women’s possible future selves, Human Communication Research [Impact Factor: 3.000] - April, 2016
    Collaborators: Ashley Kennard, Co-Author; Laura Willis, Co-Author; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Co-Author

    Does this book make me look fat? The effect of protagonist body weight and body esteem on female readers’ body esteem, Body Image: An International Journal of Research [Impact Factor: 6.09] - March, 2013
    Collaborator: Robert Magee, Co-Author


    Ph D, Health Communication, The Ohio State University

    MA, Mass Media and Communication, Virginia Tech

    BA, Communication, Saint Vincent College

    Papers and Presentations

    January 12, 2022

    Posters and Oral Presentations
    The Influence of Female Readers’ Characteristics on Narrative Selection and Its Effects on Readers’ Self-Concepts
    International Communication Association 72nd Annual Conference
    Paris, France

    Collaborator: Megan Vendemia, Co-Author

    The current study employs a selective exposure design where women can choose which narrative genre (romance or career) they would like to read, featuring a thin or large character with low or high body esteem, to examine effects while capturing participant characteristics that influence story selection. Results indicated participants’ salient self-concepts pertaining to romance and career predicted story selections. Participants with salient romance-related self-concepts were more likely to choose the romance genre, and those with salient career-related self-concepts were more likely to choose the career genre. Participant BMI predicted selection of a narrative featuring a thin or large character. Participants who read about thin (vs. large) and high (vs. low) body esteem characters reported higher state body esteem. Reading about characters with high (vs. low) body esteem also positively influenced participants’ perceptions of their own success in the relevant domain (career or romance). Implications of the findings will be discussed.

    November 20, 2021

    Papers and Oral Presentations
    Promoting Body Positivity Through Narratives: The Effects of Female Protagonist Portrayals on Readers’ Engagement in Social Comparisons, Attributions, and Body Image
    National Communication Association 107th Annual Convention
    Seattle, Washington

    Collaborator: Megan Vendemia, Co-Author

    This research investigates the effects of character body size (underweight vs. overweight), body esteem (low vs. high), and the valence of story ending (negative vs. positive). Participants were randomly assigned to one of eight short stories about a female character. Results indicate that characters that exude high body esteem not only are rated more favorably in terms of well-being (success, life satisfaction, happiness) and perceived competence, but also led readers to upwardly socially compare and aspire to be like the character. Results also suggest that reading about characters with larger bodies can positively affect readers’ own body image; however, this positive effect is explained by downwardly socially comparing with the character. Implications for promoting positive body image and the effects more diverse and inclusive depictions can have on audience members’ self-concept and outlook on life are discussed.

    May 12, 2021

    Oral Presentations
    A Competitive Advantage for Students--Teaching Personal Branding Strategies
    The 2021 Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology

    Personal branding requires students to think about how they want to present their unique combination of skills, experience, and personality to prospective employers. Personal branding has to enhanced credibility and visibility. This presentation covered how instructors can integrate personal branding lessons into their own courses.