Moral Media – September 2022

Moral Media 2022 – September

We are excited to announce the sixth meeting of the Moral Media working group. This year’s #moralmedia22 agenda features a combination of research presentations and breakout discussion sessions with the goal of sharing ideas and fostering concrete opportunities for collaboration across disciplines (e.g., psychology, film and media studies, communication, philosophy, aesthetics). Researchers working in the area of media and morality (broadly defined) are encouraged to attend.

Support for #moralmedia22 is generously provided by Templeton Religion Trust and Michigan State University.


The conference has now closed. All talks are available for viewing here: MSU Comm Dept YouTube

Dates: September 16-17, 2022

Friday September 16 

  • 4pm Opening keynote by Murray Smith, University of Kent, CAS 191 (Deeb) OPEN
    • Character Engagement and Moral Understanding: Some Methodological Reflections
      • In this paper I’ll provide an overview of my theory of character engagement, as laid out in my Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion, and the Cinema (OUP, revised second edition, 2022). I’ll place an emphasis on two issues in particular: first, the ways in which morality and moral understanding enter into the theory; and second, the ways in which the assumptions, hypotheses, and claims of the theory might be operationalized and empirically tested

Saturday September 17

  • 9am Keynote from Art Raney, Florida State University
    • Morality as Media Process and Effect
      • Over the past two decades, media psychologists have paid a great deal of attention to the role of morality in media selection, reception, and effects. In this presentation, I will highlight key contributions that this work has made to entertainment theory and identify challenges that still exist in relation to media and moral emotions, schema, thinking, and actions.
  • 10:15 Session Talks:
    • A Scoping Review of Prosocial and Antisocial Media Content and Effects in Mass Communication Research Across Five Decades – Lindsay Hahn Kevin Kryston, Kaitlin Fitzgerald, & Ron Tamborini
    • Building a Toolkit for Testing and Advancing Affective Disposition Theory: A 5-Year Journey – Matthew Grizzard
    • Disgust, Race, and Solidarity in Character Engagement – Dan Flory
    • Too (Relationally) Close for Comedy? An Integrative Review of How Character Involvement Should Affect Viewer Responses to Cringe Humor- Elizabeth L. Cohen, Hailey Scherer, Thomas Bobbitt, & Alysse Baker
  • 11:30 Poster Session:
    • Load a previous save? A working project on the influence of moral decision replay on player psychological outcomes – Morgan Ellithorpe
    • Narrative Media’s Influence on Egoistic Need Satisfaction in Preadolescentss – Melinda Aley, Ron Tamborini, Lindsay Hahn & Joshua Baldwin
    • How the Morality of Behaviors Affects Perceptions of Competence and Identification with Media Characters – Nic Matthews & Alex Bonus
    • Walking the Moral Plank: Using Virtual Reality to Investigate Moral Decision-Making in a Tragedy of the Commons Dilemma – Joomi Lee, Lindsay Hahn, Eric Novotny, Glenna Read, and Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn
    • Online public discourse about moral dilemma judgments of autonomous vehicles: emotions, standards, and values – Heesoo Jang
    • The role of theory of mind in driving character engagement, reflection, and moral understanding of fiction films – Joseph Jackowski, Sara Grady, Allison Eden, Carl Plantinga, Murray Smith & Daniel Levin
    • Character Engagement and Moral Understanding in Screen Stories – Carl Plantinga
    • Towards Explicating the Visual Construction of Morality – Musa Malik, Sungbin Youk & Rene Weber
    • Comparative narrative intuition exemplar prominence – Brian Klebig
    • The Role of Socio-Cognitive Information when Identifying Exemplars: Proposing a Typology – Cassie Marple
  • 1:30 Session Talks:
    • Dispositional Moralizing and Susceptibility to Morally Framed Messages- Andrew Lutrell, Aviva Phillipp-Mullet, & Richard E. Petty
    • Comparative Moral Intuition Prominence in Narratives Shape Affective Dispositions- Joshua Baldwin & Ron Tamborini
    • “Your necessary scumbag cop friends.” Understanding the morally disturbing world of Antidisturbios– Alberto N. García & Margaret McVeigh
    • Moral Tipping Points: How Trait Moral Salience Moderates Judgments of Narrative Characters along the Moral Continuum- C. Joseph Francemone & Nicholas L. Matthews
  • 3pm Keynote from James Harold, Mount Holyoke College,
    • Fan Feedback and Moral Dialogue
      • In recent weeks, both Lizzo and Beyoncé faced widespread criticism for their use of ableist language in their songs; both artists responded by re-recording new versions of these songs with changed lyrics. This kind of feedback and response have become more common in recent years, with mass media artists often challenged by fans to change their works. Such interactions raise important and difficult moral questions: how far do artists’ rights extend? What moral value is there, if any, in fan feedback of this kind? Is there a morally better or worse way for artists to respond to moral criticism from fans?
  • 4:15 Session Talks:
    • The Socio-Moral Image Database- Sungbin Youk
    • A Moral-Mind Heuristic in Novel Judgments of Machine and Human Agents – Jamie Banks
    • Character Individuation and Disposition Formation: Replicating and Extending Current Work – Rebecca Frazer, Matthew Grizzard, Kaitlin Fitzgerald, Samantha Flanagan, Christina Henry, C. Joseph Francemone, & Chas Monge
  • Closing Remarks – Allison Eden

Location: College of Communication Arts and Sciences,

Parking: Ramp 5

Travel to and from East Lansing: East Lansing is located in Mid-Michigan and accessible by car, plane, and train. The closest airports are:

  • The Capital Region International Airport (LAN) located in Lansing about 20 minutes west of MSU.
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) – about 90 minutes drive southeast of East Lansing, DTW is a hub for Delta.
    • Regular bus transportation between DTW and EL is provided by the Michigan Flyer, which can be reserved from the Marriot hotel East Lansing location (2 blocks east of the Graduate Hotel) for about 30$ each way.
  • Gerald R Ford Airport (GRR) is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about an hour drive west of East Lansing. There is no direct bus from GRR to EL.

Questions: email