Sonya Dal Cin

sdalcin's picture
Token Available
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
LSA: Social Sciences
Communication Studies
Research Associate Professor, Research Center for Group Dynamics, ISR; Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology, LSA
(734) 615-0380
Research summary: 

I am interested in the use of stories as persuasive tools, with particular interest in health-related attitudes and behaviours. That is, I conduct research on how stories can impact what people think (about themselves, others, and everyday issues) and whether this has an impact on how people behave. I am most interested in health-related thoughts and behaviors because of their importance for personal and societal well-being.

I am particularly interested in how we process the messages contained in stories and how our "relationship" with a character influences this processing. One of the main focuses of my work is how this processing can happen without much (if any) conscious awareness on our part, and how we also may not realize the effects of this processing (e.g., changes in our attitudes).

Some research questions include:

  • Does exposure to movies in which characters smoke have an effect on smoking-related attitudes and behaviour?
  • If people are "against" a message, is it more effective to present that message in the form of a story than as a traditional persuasive message containing strong, reasoned arguments?
  • Does identifying with a character lead us to see ourselves differently?
Recent publications: 

Greenwood, D. N., Long, C., & Dal Cin, S. (2013). Fame and the social self: The need to belong, narcissism, and relatedness predict the appeal of fame. Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 490–495.

Cascio, C. N., Dal Cin, S., & Falk, E. B. (2013). Health communications: Predicting behavior change from the brain. In P. A. Hall (Ed.) Social Neuroscience and Public Health. New York, NY: Springer.

Dal Cin, S., Stoolmiller, M. & Sargent, J. D. (2013). Exposure to smoking in movies and smoking initiation among Black teens. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44, 345-350.

Greenwood, D. N. & Dal Cin, S. (2012). Ethnicity and body image: Black and White American women's negotiation of media ideals and others' approval. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1, 220-235.

Dal Cin, S., Stoolmiller, M., & Sargent, J. D. (2012). When movies matter: Changes in determinants of smoking behavior over the smoking trajectory. Journal of Health Communication, 17, 76-89.

Wagner, D. D., Dal Cin, S., Sargent, J. D., & Heatherton, T. F. (2011). Sharing a cigarette with the stars: Spontaneous action representation in smokers when watching movie characters smoking. Journal of Neuroscience, 31, 894-898.

Dillard, A. J., Fagerlin, A., Dal Cin, S., Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., & Ubel, P. A. (2010). Narratives that address affective forecasting errors reduce perceived barriers to colorectal cancer screening. Social Science & Medicine, 71, 45-52.

Gibbons, F. X., Pomery, E. A., Gerrard, M., Sargent, J. D., Yeh, H., Wills, T. A., Dal Cin, S., Worth, K. A.,Stoolmiller, M. (2010). Media as social influence: Racial differences in the effects of media on adolescent alcohol cognitions and consumption. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 10, 649-659.

Tanski, S. E., Dal Cin, S., Stoolmiller, M., & Sargent, J. D. (2010). Parental R-rated movie restriction and early-onset alcohol use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 71, 452-459.

Dal Cin, S., Worth, K. A., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., & Sargent, J. D. (2009). Watching and drinking: Expectancies, prototypes, and peer affiliations mediate the effect of exposure to alcohol use in movies on adolescent drinking. Health Psychology, 28, 473-483.

Hunt, K., Sweeting, H., Sargent, J. D., Lewars, H., Dal Cin, S., & Worth, K. A. (2009). An examination of the association between seeing smoking in films and tobacco use in young adults in the west of Scotland: Cross-sectional study. Health Education Research, 24, 22-31.

Tanski, S. E., Stoolmiller, M., Dal Cin, S., Worth, K. A., Gibson, J. J., & Sargent, J. D. (2009). Movie character smoking and adolescent smoking: Who matters more, good guys or bad guys? Pediatrics, 124, 135-143.