Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning

Cognitive and Emotional Processing of Media

By Robert F. Potter, Paul Bolls

© 2011 – Routledge

286 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415994149
pub: 2011-08-29
US Dollars$52.95
Hardback: 9780805862867
pub: 2011-08-29
US Dollars$130.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

This research volume serves as a comprehensive resource for psychophysiological research on media responses. It addresses the theoretical underpinnings, methodological techniques, and most recent research in this area. It goes beyond current volumes by placing the research techniques within a context of communication processes and effects as a field, and demonstrating how the real-time measurement of physiological responses enhances and complements more traditional measures of psychological effects from media.

This volume introduces readers to the theoretical assumptions of psychophysiology as well as the operational details of collecting psychophysiological data. In addition to discussing specific measures, it includes brief reviews of recent experiments that have used psychophysiological measures to study how the brain processes media. It will serve as a valuable reference for media researchers utilizing these methodologies, or for other researchers needing to understand the theories, history, and methods of psychophysiological research.


'In addition to its compelling structure, the authors work to make the material highly approachable, both through thorough explanation of various physiological indicators as well as through a readable writing style. Indeed, the book pairs comprehensive explanation with an occasional dose of humor. In chapter 2, the authors note that one key to conducting this form of research is working to overcome the artificiality of the research lab by making the participant feel comfortable while researchers attach a handful of electrodes to the participant's hands, arms, and face. Likewise, it is clear that the authors worked to make the reader equally comfortable in learning about what those electrodes can tell us about message processing. As such, Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning will likely become a useful aid in training those who wish to employ physiology in their own line of research.' R. Glenn Cummins, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media

'This book is about both doing the right thing and doing it right…full of good science and practical advice for measuring and interpreting signals from the body and brain as people are exposed to media like TV programs, movies, online videos, and advertising.' Steve Genco, Intuitive Consumer Blog

Table of Contents

1. Psychophysiology in the Context of Media Processes and Effects Research

2. Psychophysiology—Theoretical Assumptions and a History of the Field

3. Key Terms and Concepts in Psychophysiology

4. Psychophysiological Measures of Cognitive Processing of Media

5. Psychophysiological Measures of Emotional Processing of Media

6. Emerging Psychophysiological Measures for Media Research

7. Connecting Psychophysiology to Other Measures of Mediated Message Processing     

8. On Your Own: Setting up a Media Psychophysiology Lab and Conducting Experiments 

9. Psychophysiological Measures and Meaning: Implications of Current Research and a Peek at the Future


About the Authors

Robert F. Potter (Ph.D. Indiana University) is Associate Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a member of Core Faculty-Cognitive Science Program and Director of the Institute for Communication Research. His research focuses on the impact of auditory elements on information processing of media, psychophysiological measures as indicators of cognitive and emotional responses to media, and the concept of advertising clutter and its influence on information processing. Additional information about Potter’s work can be found at

Paul D. Bolls (Ph.D. Indiana University) is co-director of the PRIME Lab and an associate professor of strategic communication at the Missouri School of Journalism. He conducts media psychophysiology research with a specific focus on examining mental processing of public health messages. He has been involved in building and running media psychophysiology labs for the past 15 years, having worked in labs at Indiana University, University of Missouri, and Washington State University.

About the Series

Routledge Communication Series

The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
PSYCHOLOGY / Research & Methodology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies