Morten Thomsen

University of Southern Denmark, Denmark — PhD Student

Research Areas

  • Communications Theory
  • Journalism
  • Media Audiences

Ongoing Projects

Perception and communication of pesticides and biocides

About

I had worked as a journalist for eight years when the nagging question began to surface:
Is there a better way of capturing the target audience? Is my way of communicating important information supported by empirical research? Journalism is a field based upon tradition and gut feeling, so I was curious to know to which extend we could improve the effect of journalism by understanding how the audience processes information in their brain.
To answer the question, I began a master’s degree in Journalism which combined media studies with neuropsychology. This included how we could apply methods from neuropsychology to look into the head of target audience during exposure of important information. If so, we would be able to improve the impact of journalism, for example improved attention, memory and engagement of the audience.
I volunteered at Hvidovre Hospitals Brain Research Department (DRCMR) to get a deeper understanding and practical experience of conducting such studies. Here I wrote my master thesis, using EEG to capture responses to emotional headlines which was awarded best master thesis of 2016 in Journalism, SDU.
After my master degree, I applied this knowledge and methods to help with and manage several media research project with the aim of improving attention, memory and viewer engagement of online news, trailers, radio news and tv-series for DR, NORDISK FILM, TV2, Jysk-Fynske Medier and The Danish Film Institute.
Because these methods are quite new within the field of media research, I co-founded and coordinated an ERFA-network to help improve media studies and share knowledge for media researchers in Denmark, who uses these methods from neuropsychology, providing both a network and knowledge about how the brain process media and how to examine this.
With my experience with neuropsychology, lab experiments and media research in the backpack I received a PhD-grant in late autumn 2019 from Center for Journalism, University of Southern Denmark to explore how we can improve communication of information about pesticides and biocides where risk perception and risk communication are central paradigms.