Dr Regina Chen (left) and Dr Flora Hung-Baesecke (second from right) receive the award from Professor Don Stacks, IPRRC Executive Director (second from left) and Dr Koichi Yamamura, Award Sponsor (right)


陳怡如博士 (左) 和洪君如博士 (右二) 獲國際公共關係研究學會執行董事Don Stacks教授(左二) 及獎項贊助人Koichi Yamamura博士(右)頒發獎項。

Date: 14 Apr 2015 (Tuesday)

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Communication scholar wins Best Paper on International Strategic Communication awarded by International Public Relations Research Conference

研究證實問題認定連鎖效應 傳播學者獲頒最佳論文獎

Dr Regina Chen, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies of the School of Communication, won the Koichi Yamamura International Strategic Communication Award at the 18th International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) for her co-authored paper with Dr Flora Hung-Baesecke and Dr Kim Jeong-nam.
 
Entitled “Social Amplification of Problem Chain-Recognition Effect on Risk Policies:
Escalated Issue Spillover from Government Distrust and Media Use”, the study utilised situational theory of problem solving (STOPS) to test the problem chain-recognition effect on policies involving highly publicised risk controversies in Taiwan and two affecting factors (government distrust and media use) of the effect.

Problem chain-recognition effect refers to the perceptual tendency that people are likely to recognise similar or related issues to an identified problem as problematic because (1) problems are often connected together and/or embedded within a larger network of problems and (2) people often utilise stereotyping in information processing, especially when they have limited knowledge about or low interest in the issues. This effect is easily triggered when an individual actively seeks, exchanges, and discusses information about a perceived problem.
 
Online-survey data of 748 Taiwanese citizens aged between18 and 76 suggested the existence of the problem chain-recognition effect in two controversial policies with intensive media coverage: the problem chain-recognition effect of the US beef import policy on the fourth nuclear power plant policy. Taiwanese participants who disagreed with the government’s decision to resume US beef imports tended to perceive the nuclear power plant policy as problematic. In addition, the participants’ distrust of government enhanced the found effect but did not significantly alter their use of traditional and digital media for news and information gathering.  
 
The results provide three major implications for risk management research and practice. First, the situational theory (or STOPS) can be an effective tool for identifying the problem chain-recognition effect. Secondly, the problem chain-recognition effect can exist in highly publicised controversial issues concerning different kinds of risks (for example, concerns over food-safety could transfer to issues related to the safe use of technology). And lastly, low trust in government served as a contextual factor that strengthens such effect. This paper further cements the idea that cultivating public trust should be the top priority of the government in order to manage public sentiment over controversial policies.
 
The award was presented at the 18th IPRRC held on 7 March in Miami, USA. IPRRC is one of the top academic public relations research venues. This year, 108 papers were accepted for presentation at the conference.

傳理學院傳播系助理教授陳怡如博士的合著論文《風險管理政策中問題認定連鎖效應的社會放大:公眾對政府不信任及媒體使用所導致的議題溢出》,最近在第18屆國際公共關係研究學會上獲頒「Koichi Yamamura國際策略傳播」論文獎。論文另外兩位合著人為洪君如博士和Kim Jeong-Nam博士。
 
該研究引用問題解決情境理論,測試台灣公眾對媒體高度關注的風險管理公共政策是否會產生「問題認定連鎖效應」(下稱「效應」) 及個人因素 (對政府不信任及媒體使用) 對此「效應」的影響性。

「問題認定連鎖效應」是指人們容易認為與現有問題類似或相關的議題也一樣有問題的認知傾向。例如人們通常認定和A問題相似或相關的B議題也是有問題的。有兩個原因導致此認知傾向:(1) 各社會問題或公共議題通常互相連結或者包含在一更根本的問題脈絡裡;(2)人們在處理資訊過程中經常利用既有的刻板定型以快速獲得結論,尤其是在處理認識有限或低興趣的議題訊息之時。此外,當公眾積極涉入一個既有問題的主動傳播 (尋求、交換及討論問題相關資訊) 時,特別容易觸發此「效應」。
 
研究對748位年齡介乎18歲至76歲的台灣市民進行網上問卷訪問,結果顯示台灣市民在處理兩個屬媒體焦點的風險管理公共政策的訊息時產生了「效應」:對進口美國牛肉政策的評估連帶形成對第四核電廠政策認知的影響。數據分析證實,視政府重啟進口美國牛肉為一錯誤政策的台灣市民,傾向認為第四核電廠政策為政府的另一個問題政策,而且對他們造成巨大的負面影響。此外,個人對政府的不信任強化了此「效應」;然而,其新聞媒體使用頻率卻沒有對此「效應」產生明顯影響。
 
研究結果對風險管理研究及實踐提出三個洞察:(1) 運用問題解決情境理論可有效辨識那些風險管理公共政策間存在「效應」;(2)「效應」可以存在於媒體高度關注的不同性質的風險議題中 (例如從食品安全風險政策轉嫁到科技安全風險政策);(3) 對政府的低信任度是強化「效應」的情境因素。此結果再次證實建立和維持公眾的信任,應該是政府處理風險政策爭議時首要工作。
 
第18屆國際公共關係研究學會年度會議於美國邁阿密舉行,有關論文獎項於3月7日頒發。該年度會議是公共關係學術研究界的重點會議之一,今年獲大會接納發表的論文有108份。