Project Title: Exploring the Power and Sex Messages of

Faculty Sponsor: Chris Kowal

Department: Communications

Telephone: 248.798.3194


Project Description: Communication messages have the potential of having great impact on the way we perceive our world. News agencies have always played an important roll in how we shape our perceptions through how they portray and display the stories in which they share. Headlines use powerful words to catch our attention and draw us in to engage with the story. Newburg and Waldman demonstrated how words can activate neurological function, that is some words can light up the amygdala while others may only impact the frontal lobe. The amygdala plays an important evolutionary function to ignite fear and security within the lower brain stem that can influence and even override higher level cognitive functions. Besides words, Rupp demonstrated that sexual images and sexual stimulation can activate the amygdala as well. A quick review of reveals an intriguing discovery of power words and sexual images. The purpose of this study is to code these words and images from the homepage of and examine the frequency and perhaps impact of these communication messages.

The website's wayback machine has a created an online archive of thousands of websites, including daily storing of This research proposes to randomly select three hundred homepage archives of to code and analyze the words in the headlines and the images found in the Features and Faces section below the headlines. We hypothesis that utilizes many words and images that are responsible to activate the amygdala.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: Students will be crucial to systematically opening the archive of to randomly select archived pages for analysis. Student researchers will actively code in SPSS or other supported databases such as Excel the language and images viewed.

Minimum Student Qualifications: Work or knowledge with spreadsheets such as excel.