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Featured Profile: Sungkyoung Lee

Sungkyoung Lee

Dr. Sungkyoung Lee’s study of how the brain processes media provides guidance for health communicators.

Lee developed the Dynamic Audio/Video Redundancy and Complexity (DAVRC) measure, used to gauge how media impacts mental processes. She spent several years at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication as research director of the Center for Excellence in Cancer Communication Research before joining the University of Missouri in 2014.

Much of Lee’s research focuses on how the brain processes images. In a study of children and adolescents, she discovered that pictures of alcohol and cigarettes automatically activated a motivational response. In pre-teens, the pictures created a desire to avoid the products; however, older children were split between aversion and attraction – suggesting that prevention messages targeted to teens should avoid using images of alcohol and cigarettes.

In an adult study, Lee demonstrated that when smoking cues (smoking-related objects and behaviors) are included in anti-smoking public service announcements, current smokers have greater difficulty processing the message; the cues also diminish former smokers’ intention to refrain. Additionally, she has discovered that antismoking messages are more likely to be shared on social media when they contain new information and positive messages.

Dr. Sungkyoung Lee is an assistant professor of strategic communication in the Missouri School of Journalism.

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Related Initiative(s):
Media of the Future