About the Facility
Located on the University Park campus at Penn State, the Media Effects Research Laboratory consists of two main wings: 1) The Traditional Media Wing to examine the effects of television, film entertainment, and more recently video games, and 2) The New Media Wing to examine the effects of online media and communications technology. Both are equipped to measure psychophysiological data.
The Traditional Media Wing
The Traditional Media Wing is comprised of an Experimental Room, an Observation Room, and a waiting area. The Observation Room contains audio/visual equipment (VCR, DVD player, laserdisc player) and a Mac computer for analysis. The A/V equipment is connected to a surround-sound speaker system and an overhead projection system which displays stimuli on a nine-foot screen in the Experimental Room. The Observation Room can accommodate two observers and allow for unobtrusive observation through a two-way mirror.
The Experimental Room features a 46" flat-panel LCD television, DVD player, and the following video game consoles: Nintendo Wii, XBOX 360, Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, PSP, and Nintendo DS. This room is often used to collect questionnaire data following experiments in which the participant is exposed to e to film, tv, or advertising clips, or engages in video game play. The space can seat up to 12 viewers for the main screen, comfortably accommodate 2 video game players, and psychophysiological data can be collected simultaneously from 4 participants at a time.
The New Media Wing
This wing is home to 18 computers equipped with Media Lab reaction time software. Experimenters use this space to gather cognitive and behavioral measures in reaction to interacting with websites or other media online. Researchers can also examine unconscious or implicit attitudes through the use of reaction time tests. As with the traditional media lab, psychophysiological measures can be collected in this lab for up of 8 participants at one time.
The media lab is equipped with the Biopac system for collecting a wide variety of cardiac, brain, muscular, and ocular data. The most common measurements used in the lab are heart rate, galvanic skin response (or skin conductance), facial electromyography (EMG), electrooculography (EOG), and electroencephalography (EEG).