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Research Spotlight: Mindfulness and Food for Thought

Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Studies Mark Flynn and Tristyn Suprenant ’20 take a look at food advertisements and the effects of mindfulness on television binge watching.

As assistant professor of communication and media studies, Dr. Mark Flynn’s research primarily focuses on media effects and health communication, and the intersection between these two areas. He explores the relationship between media use and health issues related to body image and risk behavior. Through this research, he also began exploring strategic health communication and developed a “Health Communications” course to give students an overview of the field.

In this course, students have gained firsthand experience pitching creative campaigns to clients such as Dana-Farber, as well as creating campaigns that inform Emmanuel students about the dangers of binge drinking and the importance of mindfulness.

The subjects struck a chord with senior Tristyn Suprenant, who has been working with Dr. Flynn on a variety of research projects since summer 2017. She first began compiling and analyzing content for a project focused on food advertisements. Their resulting paper, “Is it Good for Me? A Content Analysis of the Healthiness of Foods Advertised in Magazines,” was awarded the top prize in the health communications division at the 2019 Eastern Communication Association conference.

Tristyn and Dr. Flynn’s most recent research, which was presented to the Emmanuel community in the fall of 2019, was on the effects of mindfulness and flow on television binge-watching motivations and behavior, specifically on which states of mind make an individual more likely to binge, and how binging in these states influences one’s mindset after the viewing stops.

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