The Honors Thesis Program offers qualified students an opportunity to conduct independent communication research and to write an honors thesis reporting their results. The program provides for close contact between students and thesis advisors so that students can receive intensive guidance and assistance throughout their research and writing. The aim is to help students go through the process of conceptualization, study planning, data collection, analysis and writing, which is essential to excellence in scholarship.
Shawnee is working with Professor Jeremy Bailenson and Dr. Robin Rosenberg, who is the world’s expert on the psychology of superheros. They are using an innovative new Virtual World in which the user can fly like a superhero by raising and moving their arms. They will be studying some of the psychological effects that may ensue after one embodies a superhero. The goal is to see whether positive social actions, or helping behaviors, increase when they have been given the chance to act as a hero.
Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
The thesis is currently at an early stage of development and is to be completed spring of 2012. I will be looking at science fiction television and cinema, particularly the critically acclaimed re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, in attempts to relate it back to our perception of science, technology, human relations and the “self.” Through a formal analysis and the process of conducting interviews, I will use production modes, screenwriting and character development to reinforce the notion that technology has and will continue to shape the way we live and perceive others and ourselves. The science fiction genre as a whole has expressed an anxiety over technology and how it could eventually render the human body obsolete. Alternate forms of the body are consistently present in science fiction texts, from the android, to the terminator, to the avatar and the cylon. I will use both scholarly text and visible, mainstream media to explore the developing relationship between the human body, different forms of technology, and our identity.
Advisor: Fred Turner
Psychologists have identified social relationships as integral to the process of facilitating learning. Computer mediated learning environments, specifically in this case multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs), have become more socially intelligent but have issues in fostering and maintaining relatedness between learners. My honors thesis research will be a part of the research project began by Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford), Valdlen Koltun (Stanford), Hunter Gehlbach (Harvard) and Chris Dede (Harvard). It focuses on enhancing immersive social perspective taking and perceived virtual similarity to enable intelligent social relationships. The goal is to develop and study new approaches to facilitate interpersonal relationships in online learning environments because certain barriers can be overcome in these virtual worlds to let learners interact in innovative and effective ways.
Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
Previous Honors Theses are available for review in Room 110A in Bldg. 120. Examples of some recent theses include:
- Virtual Superheroes: Using Superpowers in Virtual Reality to Encourage Prosocial Behavior
Shawnee Baughman, 2012, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
- What Might it Mean to be Human: A Glimpse of the Future Through Battlestar Galactica
Sydney Burlison, 2012, Thesis Advisor: Fred Turner
- Influencing Environmental Negotiation Through Immersive Social Perspective Taking
Alyssa Green, 2012, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
- Ethnic Tweaking of the Windows to the Soul: The Role of Media in Shaping the Beauty Perception of Korean Women
Christine J. Park, 2011, Thesis Advisor: Fred Turner
- Human Centric System Design: An Analysis of How Collaborative System Design Dicates Innovation and Productivity in Modern Economies and How to Seamlessly Leverage Future Technologies with the Human Condition
Steven Duplinsky, 2010, Thesis Advisor: Byron Reeves
- Justice at 24 Frames a Second: The Power and Persuasiveness of Victim Impact and Mitigation Videos
Charlie Mintz, 2010, Thesis Advisors: Glenn Frankel & Fred Turner
- Multi-Dimensional Design Strategies for Web Recommender Systems: How Grouping Approaches for Generating Product Recommendations Affect User Responses
Paloma Ochi (Firestone Award Recipient), 2010, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
- Mixed Emotions: Emotional Juxtaposition in Online Advertising
Alison Johnston, 2009, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
- The Portrayal of Africa in the Western Media and its Effects on College-Aged Youth of African-descent Living in the United States
Kamila McDonald, 2009, Thesis Advisors: Fred Turner & Prudence Carter
- The News Media in Nicaragua and Their Role in Democratic Development
Amy Bonilla, 2008, Thesis Advisors: Shanto Iyengar & William Ratliff
- S.tiches O.f the S.ahara: An Exploration Into the Non-profit Business
Allison Brian, 2008, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
- Multi-Media Minds: Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers
Eyal Ophir, 2008, Thesis Advisor: Cliff Nass
- Bringing the Asian Journalism Debate into American Newsrooms: Rethinking Diversity
Aram Hur, 2007, Thesis Advisor: Ted Glasser
- Learning Tai Chi in Virtual Reality: Exploring the Effects of Fully Immersive Virtual Reality on Learning of Physical Tasks?
Alexia Nielsen, 2007, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
- Virtually True: Children’s Acquisition of False Memories in Virtual Reality
Kathryn Rickertsen (Firestone Award Recipient), 2007, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
- Virtual Police Lineups: An Exploration of How Virtual Reality Can Improve Eyewitness Identification
Alexandra Davies, 2005, Thesis Advisor: Jeremy Bailenson
- Subtle Racial Media Appeals in Political Campaigns and the Local News: How does this influence public opinion and California referenda?
Jessica LaVerne Parker, 2005, Thesis Advisor: Shanto Iyengar