PhD Alumnus Rain Wuyu Liu Wins ICA Dissertation Award

Dr. Bruno Takahashi and Communication PhD Alum Dr. Rain Wuyu Liu

Rain Wuyu Liu (Ph.D. Communication ‘17) was presented with the inaugural Environmental Communication Division Dissertation Award at the International Communication Association (ICA) conference in Prague this past May. On receiving this award, Liu said, “ I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my research, which definitely means a lot to me as someone who just started her academic career recently.”

Liu’s dissertation centered around the effectiveness of injunctive messages on food waste prevention with a cross-cultural context. She conducted two studies, with data collection from both the U.S. and China. Results suggested the following: Messages have the power to shape/reshape people's perceptions toward a certain norm of behavior (e.g., food waste prevention) and, being more group-oriented (i.e., people who are more collectivistic, thinking group goals are more important than personal goals; applicable to both Chinese and American students) makes people more susceptible to social normative messages, including both descriptive norms (i.e., the prevalence of a certain behavior) and injunctive norms (i.e., social approval/disapproval to a certain behavior.)

Impressed by her work, commenters noted: “[this was] a solid piece of research that extends a often-used theory in persuasion research in clever ways” and “A cross-cultural comparison of the effects of injunctive norms fills a research gap and provides results that further the academic study of injunctive norms as well as are able to guide the practical design of environmental messages."
Liu notes her ability to win this award would not have been possible without the inspiration and support she has received from her advisor,  Dr. Maria Lapinski, her committee members, including Dr. Mary Bresnahan, Dr. Jingbo Meng, Dr. John Kerr (Dept. of Community sustainability) and Dr. Jinhua Zhao, and other Comm faculty that she has been working with, including Dr. Frank Boster.

by Kait Kisel