Dr. B.K. Johnson

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Assistant Professor

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Informatie in het Nederlands



Monday to Friday



Benjamin Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Communication Science at VU University Amsterdam. He earned his PhD from the School of Communication at The Ohio State University in 2014. His research is focused on selective exposure in new media settings, and on impression management and social comparison processes. His publications have appeared in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Media Psychology, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Media Psychology, and Computers in Human Behavior.

From 2007 to 2010, Benjamin was the Director of the Telecommunications Center at Albany State University, where he managed the university’s television channel and radio station, in addition to teaching radio courses. Prior to that, he completed a MA in Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University and a BS in Communication at the University of Indianapolis.



  • Media psychology
  • Selective exposure
  • Computer-mediated communication


Current research

  • Selective exposure and self-regulation
  • Selective exposure and political polarization
  • Social comparison on social networking sites
  • Online impression management and media choice
  • Effects of photographs in e-commerce
  • Narrative spoilers and media enjoyment


Current teaching

  • Essentials of Media Psychology (MA)
  • Media and Entertainment (BA)
  • Problematic and Beneficial Effects of New Media Use (MA)
  • Individual Processing of Media (BA)
  • Supervision BA theses
  • Supervision MA theses


Representative publications

  • Johnson, B. K., & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (in press). When misery avoids company: Selective social comparisons to photographic online profiles. Human Communication Research. [link to article] doi: 10.1111/hcre.12095
  • Westerwick, A., Johnson, B. K., & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (in press). Change your ways: Fostering health attitudes toward change through selective exposure to online health messages. Health Communication. [link to article] doi: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1160319
  • Johnson, B. K., Slater, M. D., Silver, N. A, & Ewoldsen, D. R. (2016). Entertainment and expanding boundaries of the self: Relief from the constraints of the everyday. Journal of Communication, 66(3), 386-408. [link to article] doi: 10.1111/jcom.12228
  • Ouwerkerk, J. W., & Johnson, B. K. (2016). Motives for online friending and following: The dark side of social network site connections. Social Media + Society, 2(July-September), 1-13. [link to article] doi: 10.1177/2056305116664219
  • Rosenbaum, J. E., & Johnson, B. K. (2016). Who’s afraid of spoilers? Need for cognition, need for affect, and narrative selection and enjoyment. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 5(3), 273-289. [link to article] doi: 10.1037/ppm0000076