April 18, 2017
SEC Faculty Travel Visit Explores Teasing, Motivation and Self-Esteem
By: Guest Author
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)
The following summary was submitted by Colton Krawietz, a research assistant at Louisiana State University, and edited for publication by Bryant Welbourne, SECU assistant director.
Given the advent of cyber bullying and its proliferation on social media, Dr. James Honeycutt, LSU Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies, and Dr. Courtney Wright from the University of Tennessee’s School of Communication Studies, recently participated in an SEC Faculty Travel Program visit to discuss how people use imagined interactions to create instances of affectionate and aggressive teasing of others in their minds. Their research examined the association between self-esteem, imagined interactions and teasing motivation.
An imagined interaction occurs when a person replays prior conversations in his or her mind, or anticipates future ones, such as rehearsing for a job interview. Teasing motivation serves functions of being playful and aggressive, while self-esteem is associated with teasing outcomes.
In order to examine the strategic planning of teasing, Dr. Honeycutt and Dr. Wright examined the imagined interactions of teasers since most research has only examined victims of teasing. They found that aggressive teasing could be predicted by using imagined interactions to ruminate about conflict, catharsis and rehearsal. The implications of the findings for teasing and imagined interaction, as well as future research, were also discussed.
The visit between Dr. Honeycutt and Dr. Wright produced a top-ranked paper at the Southern Communication Association Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, in April 2016, publication of their research in the Southern Communication Journal, and an expansion of research into the motivations behind different types of teasing.
Dr. Honeycutt is currently examining heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological variables that may be associated with playful and aggressive teasing in his interaction lab. Other research on this topic includes sports fandom and physiology in relation to achieving identity with athletes.
Dr. Honeycutt’s and Dr. Wright’s visit was supported by the SEC Faculty Travel Program that is administered by SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference. The SEC supports and promotes the academic endeavors of the students and faculty at its 14 member institutions.