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Robert F. Potter and Justin Robert Keene

An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed a fan identification scale before stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator muscle activity were recorded as indices of cognitive resource allocation, emotional arousal, and aversive motivation activation respectively. Self-report measures were collected after each stimulus. Results show that highly identified fans process sports-related news content differently than moderate fans, allocating more cognitive resources and exhibiting greater aversive reactions to the negatively valenced coach. Comparisons between the self-report and psychophysiology data suggest that the latter may be less susceptible to social desirability response bias when emotional reaction to sports messages are concerned.

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Justin Robert Keene, Collin Berke and Brandon H. Nutting

This study, based on previous work, investigated the interaction of camera angle, arousing content, and an individual’s general and school-specific fanship on the cognitive processing of and emotional reactions to sport communication from a top-down and bottom-up perspective. Cognitive processing was defined as the resources available for encoding and was indexed using secondary-task reaction times, and self-reported positivity, negativity, and arousal were also measured as an index of emotional reactions. Results indicate that general and school-specific fanship have differential effects on cognitive processing and emotional reactions. In addition, in a replication of previous work, it would appear that different camera angles do not have different effects on cognitive processing. The implications of the top-down and bottom-up approach for the sport communication experience are discussed for both sport researchers and sport communication practitioners.