Faculty / Lab Directors
S. Shyam Sundar is the founding director of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on mass-communication theory, psychology of communication theory and research methodology. His research investigates social and psychological effects of technological elements unique to web-based mass-communication. In particular, his studies investigate the effects of interactivity, navigability, multi-modality and agency in web interfaces upon online users' thoughts, emotions and actions. Click here for more
Mary Beth Oliver is the co-director of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on media effects, communication research, quantitative research methods and interpersonal communication. She specializes in media and psychology, focusing on both the psychological effects of media, and on viewers' attraction to or enjoyment of media content. Her research includes studies pertaining to media violence, reality-based television programs, gender differences in enjoyment of media entertainment, viewers' responses to melodramas and sad films and media potrayals of racial groups and the effect of such potrayals on viewers' racial attitudes. Click here for more
Lee Ahern is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab. He teaches introduction to advertising, research methods and media planning. His current research focuses on the description, analysis and ethics of strategic messages, primarily in the context of environmental and health communications. In particular, he has explored psychological effects and cognitive processing implications of different environmental message factors. In an international context, Ahern also studies the roles of culture and media system development on environmental attitudes and behaviors. Ahern's work has been published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and Health Communication. In 2007, Ahern received the Betsy Plank Graduate Student Research Award, which is presented annually at the Public Relations Society of America International Conference. He has presented multiple papers at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference. He is the current Research Chair for the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division of AEJMC. Click here for more
Frank Dardis is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on strategic communication, advertising and marketing, and advertising / public relations research methods. His research focuses on the psychological and persuasive effects that informational messages have on people. Specifically, he has examined message framing, media framing, advocacy appeals, sponsorship messages, and repeated message exposures within both sociopolitical and marketing / consumer-related contexts. He has investigated message effects regarding sociopolitical topics such as social movement organizations, war protest, environmentalism, capital punishment and political apathy. His consumer-oriented research focuses on the impact of advertising messages on individuals’ information processing and brand / corporate attitudes. In addition to regularly presenting his research at major academic conferences, he has published articles in journals such as Mass Communication and Society, International Communication Gazette, Communication Quarterly, Journal of Political Marketing and Journal of Consumer Behavior. Click here for more
Dennis Davis is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab. His teaching and research interests focus on mass communication theory, new media literacy, international communication, research methods, and political communications. He has served as a tenured full professor at Cleveland State University, Southern Illinois University and the University of North Dakota. He was director of the School of Communication at the University of North Dakota and has served as editor of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, published by the Broadcast Education Association. He is a member of the editorial review board for the Journal of Communication and Communication Quarterly. He regularly reviews research for several other journals, including the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media and Political Communication. He has co-authored four books on political communication, mass communication theory and news audience research. He has published 15 book chapters, 13 journal articles and 11 book reviews, and has presented more than 50 research papers at state, regional and national meetings. He has headed divisions of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the National Communication Association. His research has won the Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Policy Research from Fordham University and the Broadcasting Preceptor Award from San Francisco State University.Click here for more
Michael Schmierbach is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on media effects, political communication, quantitative research methods, and video game effects. His research focuses on individuals' perceptions of media and the role of media exposure in shaping those perceptions. Specifically, he has conducted research exploring how enjoyment of video games is influenced by interface and control schemes, multi-player game modes, perceptions of game difficulty, and other game characteristics. In addition, he has studied 3rd-person perceptions as they relate to video games, and information-seeking in regards to news and political coverage. He has presented his research at various academic conferences, and has published articles in several journals, including Mass Communication and Society, Communication Research, Journal of Communication, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Click here for more
Fuyuan Shen is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on media planning, advertising campaigns, strategic communications, and research methods. He conducts research on advertising, health communication, and political communication. His research integrates theories in social psychology, cultural psychology, and communications to explore the effects of media messages. He has previously studied how advertising and health message frames interacted with individual differences in changing attitudes towards brands, issues, and other behavioral, cognitive, and affective responses. He has also conducted research exploring the impact of political advertising, and news framing of social and political issues. He has published numerous articles in journals such as International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Mass Communication and Society. Click here for more
Bu Zhong, an assistant professor, senior research fellow of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, and faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab, teaches TV news reporting, news media ethics, international mass communications and world media systems. His research concentrates on decision making, social networking, media ethics and judgment in consuming and producing news and sports information. His work has been published in Journal of Communication, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Newspaper Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist and International Journal of Sports Communication. Before he joined the Penn State faculy, he had more than 10 years of work experience at CNN Washington Bureau in D.C., CNN Center in Atlanta, and China Daily in Beijing. Click here for more
Alyssa Jill Appelman has bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Alyssa specializes in media effects research, with a focus on the psychological effects of errors. Her research considers the effects of grammatical errors, factual errors, and corrections on news media recall and credibility. She also has looked at the effects of language and word choice on perceptions and attitudes. Her work has been published in the Newspaper Research Journal and presented at national conferences. She also teaches journalism skills courses at Penn State, based on her experience working for professional and student publications.
Joshua Auriemma, Esq. left his appellate law practice to join the College but continues to consult on legal writing and argument framing. Just prior to joining the College, Fastcase named him one of "the fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology." Joshua received his Juris Doctor from Penn State Law in 2010, and his undergraduate degree with honors in physics from UMass in 2007. During law school, Joshua served as the Executive Comments Editor of the Penn State Law Review and summered for the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society, where he advocated for consumer privacy protections and intellectual property rights. Although he has published primarily in the field of constitutional law, Joshua’s research interests are broad and span the gamut from applying the first-sale doctrine to digital goods to the social psychology of anonymity to the evolution of communities in social media and virtual worlds.
Mun Young Chung is a doctoral student in the College of Communications. His research interests center on psychological effects of media entertainment in the context of intrapersonal and intercultural communication.
Yuki Dou is a Ph.D. candidate. Her research interests include the use of new media in strategic communication and understanding psychological effects of technology in people's perception of media content. She currently focuses on studying mobile technology and examining the unique psychological effects that mobile technology can have in the context of public relations, advertising, and health communication.
Eun Go got her master’s degree in mass communication from University of Florida in 2010, and bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea, in 2008. Her research focuses primarily on the psychological effects of new media technologies as well as strategic communication management between organizations and their publics in the digital era.
Jiangxue Han (Ashley) received her master's program in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She served as coordinator of the Veridical information Detection Systems Effects Laboratory (ViDS Lab), a facility for experimental investigations of (sub)conscious media effects, where she has gained valuable experience with response-measurement systems designed to capture audiences' explicit and implicit (e.g., psychophysiological and reaction time) responses. Her research interests include advertising and persuasion effects, focusing on unobtrusive and implicit measures, effort and information processing. She is the current coordinator of the Media Effects Research Laboratory.
Jennifer Hoewe is a Ph.D. student and University Graduate Fellow within the College of Communications. Her research focuses on the news media’s ability to create and perpetuate stereotypes and the effects of these stereotypical portrayals on public opinion. She completed her master’s degree in journalism at Michigan State University, where she was named the Outstanding Graduate Student and was inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at Grand Valley State University.
Haiyan Jia is a doctoral candidate of Mass Communications. Her research interest is mainly focused on the psychological effects of Web-based communication, especially that of interactive media, on user perceptions and cognition. Currently she is investigating the design and deployment of information visualization to engage users with information processing. She is also actively involved in research projects that study social media, user agency, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, international communication, and cross-cultural comparison. Haiyan, with a few colleagues, founded the Comm GRAD Forum, a student-run organization that fosters research and discourse among graduate students in the College of Communications. She teaches Mass Communication Research and World Media Systems. She earned her bachelor degree in Atmospheric Sciences at Peking University, China. For more information, refer to her research Website: http://www.personal.psu.edu/huj116/blogs/haiyan_jia/.
Eun-Hwa Jung is a doctoral student in the College of Communications. Her research interests primarily focus on the information processing of new media technology, individuals' psychological responses to media, and the social influences of media technologies. In particular, she is interested in the effects of new media technology on health communication to fulfill users' desires for obtaining health information. She is currently working on research projects related to psychological effects of innovative technology (e.g., Internet of Things technology and ubiquitous computing) and social media use in the context of health communication.
Hyunjin Kang is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Communications. Her research explores psychological effects of new media technologies adopting various theories from diverse disciplines such as media effects, human computer interactions, social psychology, and strategic communications. She is especially interested in exploring psychological effects of customization in interactive media, and its potential role of new media technologies in persuasion. Her work has been published in Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly and tripleC - Cognition, Communication, Co-operation, and co-authored a book chapter in The persuasion handbook (2nd ed.).
Keun Yeong Kim, a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State University's College of Communications. Her primary research interest is in looking at the elements of entertainment media (television and video games) generating both negative and positive psychological effects on viewers. Specifically, her research focuses on the role of the experiences with entertainment media in improving pro-social attitudes and behaviors as well as the influence of media technology on audiences' experiences of entertainment media and its psychological results.
Guan-Soon Khoo did his dissertation study on an experimental study of Aristotelian catharsis through narrative media; his research draws from Media Psychology, emotion research, and the Humanities. His research interest revolves around the effects of communication technology on well-being, including the therapeutic effects of cinema and the effects of social media. He also teaches a research methods class that emphasizes quantitative and qualitative approaches. He can sometimes be seen playing a ukulele in the vicinity of the Media Effects Research Lab. His CV can be viewed here: http://www.personal.psu.edu/guk11/jobs/blog/CV_Khoo_me.pdf
Jeeyun Oh earned her master's degree in communication at Seoul National University. She also holds bachelor's degrees in mathematics and communication from Seoul National University. Her research investigates psychological effects of technological affordances unique to Web-based mass-communication. Her studies experimentally investigate the effects of interactivity and multi-modality in Web interfaces upon online users' cognition, perception, and attitudes. Her recent works also cover video game effects and persuasive effects of interactivity.
Brett Sherrick is from North Carolina, where he went to UNC-Chapel Hill for an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and then UNC-Wilmington for a master's degree in English. His current research examines persuasion, strategic communication, and the social and psychological benefits of video gaming. He also works with the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, researching sports media and sports journalism.
Mu Wu is a doctoral student in the College of Communications. While earning his master's degree in applied communication theory and methodology at the Cleveland State University, his research primarily focused on media and users factors contributing to the formation of spatial presence in a video game context. At Penn State, his research ranges from the psychological effects of new media technologies to presence and video game research.
Frank Waddell earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in Communications from Virginia Tech. His recent research focuses on the psychological and physiological effects of new communication technology with a focus on avatar-mediated communication. Frank hopes his research can help to inform the design of online environments and highlight new waysthat avatars can be used to support offline interventions.
Bo Zhang got her master's degree in science journalism from Boston University in 2010, and bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Peking University in Beijing, China, in 2008. She has worked as a multimedia journalist and science documentary producer in Discover Magazine, PBS (NOVA), China Daily, and Boston Science Communication. Her current research interests lie in the psychological effects of new media technologies that range from online interactive interfaces to mobile devices and social media.
Penn State Alumni Associated with Media effects research lab
Saras Bellur is an assistant professor in the College of Liberal arts and Science, University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D. in the College of Communications at Penn State in 2012. Situated in the broad area of media effects paradigm, her studies focus on the effects of structural features of new media on user attention, perception and evaluation. Visit her personal research website: http://www.personal.psu.edu/sxb979/s/index.html
Bimal Balakrishnan is an assistant professor at University of Missouri, Columbia. He earned her Ph.D. in the College of Communications at Penn State in 2008.Visit his personal site: http://arch.missouri.edu/faculty_balakrishnan.html
Nokon Heo is an assistant professor at University of Central Arkansas, Conway. Visit his personal site: http://uca.edu/mct/facultystaff/dr-nokon-heo/
Yifeng Hu is an assistant professor at The College of New Jersey, Ewing. Visit her personal site: http://communicationstudies.pages.tcnj.edu/faculty/hu/
Sriram Kalyanaraman is an assistant professor at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Visit his personal site: http://jomc.unc.edu/Faculty-Staff-Advertising-PR-Faculty/Kalyanaraman-Sri
Youjeong Kim is an assistant professor New York Institute of Technology, New York. ocuses on psychology of new media technology, avatar, virtual environment, and health communication.
Hyang-Sook Kim is an assistant professor of Communication and Media Studies, St. Norbert College. She earned her Ph.D. in the College of Communications at Penn State in 2012. Her research background is in advertising, media effects, and health communication, with her current work focusing on the effects of new media technology on online users' perceptions, particularly as they inform individuals' tendency to share information online. Visit her personal website: https://www.snc.edu/academics/faculty/hyang-sook.kim.html
Sampada Marathe is user experience researcher, Caradigm--A Microsoft/GE Healthcare Company, Boston, MA.
Youjeong Kim is an assistant professor New York Institute of Technology, New York. ocuses on psychology of new media technology, avatar, virtual environment, and health communication.
Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch is Post Doctoral Scholar, Northwestern University, Evanston.
Marc Seamon is an assistant professor at Youngstown State University, Youngstown. Visit him personal website: http://web.ysu.edu/gen/class/Marc_Seamon_p532.html
Carmen Stavrositu is an assistant professor at University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Visit her personal website: https://www.cu.edu/facultycouncil/bio/stavrositucarmen.html
Julia Woolley is an assistant professor of Communication Studies at California Polytechnic State University. She earned her Ph.D. in the College of Communications at Penn State in 2012.Her research examines media processes and effects in the areas of entertainment psychology and new communication technologies. More specifically, her work investigates the effects of narrative entertainment media on enjoyment and self-perceptions, as well as the role of social networking technologies in interpersonal and political communication processes. Visit her personal site at Cal Poly: http://www.calpoly.edu/~spc/faculty/woolley.htm
Qian Xu is an assistant professor at Elon University, Elon. Visit her personal website: http://www.elon.edu/directories/profile/?user=qxu
Media Effects Research Group [MERG]
The Media Effects Reserach Group brings together faculty and graduate students who are interested in Media Effects Research to engage in brainstorming sessions, planning research forming research teams, planning research projects, getting feedback and pre-testing, sharing study sessions and above all maintain a close-knit community of scholars which is indeed one of the strong points of the graduate program in Communications at Penn State.