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National Study will Determine Motives that Drive Consumers’ Media Preferences and Behaviors

— Study goal is to discover keys to designing more effective online news and advertising —

Flemington, NJ, November 29, 2011 – The Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) formally announced today that they will partner with HCD Research   to conduct a national study among 18-70 year-olds to determine their media use and reactions to various media images.

The study is under the direction of Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow, Paul Bolls, an associate professor of strategic communication and co-director of the PRIME  (Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects) LAB in the Missouri School of Journalism.

The intent of the study is to obtain a deeper understanding of psychological motives that drive media preferences and use to help news outlets and advertisers optimize content and delivery platforms for their target audiences. The study will identify how online media use habits and preferences are determined by unconscious and biological motivations that determine how the human brain processes information.

The survey will measure individual differences in approach and defensive related motivations and relate them to variation in online media use and preferences. The outcome of the study will be detailed psychological profiles of news audiences that go beyond existing audience data.

HCD Research is conducting this study as part of a growing collaboration with the PRIME LAB and Missouri School of Journalism to conduct scientific research on the psychology of media audiences. The current project is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and results are expected to be available at the beginning of 2012.

“HCD Research has tremendous experience studying psychological effects of a wide range of media content which makes them the perfect industry partner for this study” explained Paul Bolls, associate professor and co-director of the PRIME Lab. “We believe that our research findings will aide editors and advertisers in designing news content and advertising campaigns that are more effective at engaging their target audience.”

“Through our work with the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, and specifically the PRIME Lab, we are aligned with one of the nation’s primer journalism schools and communications research organizations,” commented Glenn Kessler, president and CEO, HCD Research. “Our partnership enables us to leverage the knowledge and insights that we gain in the area of physiological measures and apply it to the research that we conduct for our clients.”

Headquartered in Flemington, NJ, HCD Research conducts communications research for clients in the pharmaceutical, financial, food and beverage, politics and entertainment industries. For additional information on the company’s consumer studies go to: or research services go to:

Founded in 2004, RJI has launched more than 60 journalism initiatives (, most of them in collaboration with the nation’s leading private media companies and professional journalism and advertising organizations. RJI brings together professional journalists, scholars and industry leaders to collaborate and connect with citizens, and its programs are aimed at improving journalism in the service of democracy.

The Donald W. Reynolds Institute works with citizens, journalists and researchers to strengthen democracy through better journalism. RJI seeks out the most exciting new ideas, tests them with real-world experiments, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their own communities.

Since publishing the student-staffed University Missourian on Sept. 14, 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism has been the international leader in hands-on journalism education, also known as the "Missouri Method." The first to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the field, the School is also the distinguished home of several national journalism organizations, mid-career professional programs and a thriving research agenda.

Editors/Reporters: For more information on the studies, or to speak with Glenn Kessler, president and CEO, HCD Research, please contact Vince McGourty, HCD Research, at (908) 483-9121 or (

Brian Steffens, RJI director of communications:, 573-882-8251



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