Mary Brinson, PhD, Wins Top Paper Award

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Congratulations to Mary Brinson, PhD, visiting assistant professor in the department of Communication Studies, for winning a “top paper” award in the Intercultural Communication Division from the International Communication Association. 

The paper will be presented in Boston, Mass., in May. The paper is titled, “Muslims in the media: Intercultural consequences of an Islamophobic media system.”


This study investigates the effects of positive versus negative media portrayals of Muslims in America on their self-esteem, and their acculturation preferences.  The study builds upon my previous findings that varying portrayals of Muslim Americans can alter their perceptions about boundary permeability and their beliefs about American non-Muslim public opinion (Brinson, 2011).  It extends these findings to investigate whether or not media portrayals and boundary perceptions have an impact on Muslim participants’ (N=183) collective self-esteem and their preferred styles of acculturation (Berry, 1990).  Participants viewed videos, either containing images of Muslims as integrated, positive influences on society, or as nonconforming to social norms and threats to safety.  Mediation analysis uncovered significant indirect effects of varying media portrayals of Muslims on their preferences for acculturation styles.  This study has strong social implications for the advancement of understanding variables that contribute to intergroup isolation and conflict – as well as the advancement of intercultural theory by uncovering additional variables that significantly influence acculturation patterns.

(The previous findings mentioned in the abstract, from which this paper is rooted, will also be presented at ICA Boston, in the Intergroup Division titled: Muslims in the media: The impact of varying media portrayals on intergroup relations and boundary permeability between Muslims and non-Muslims in America.)

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