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Research in Media Psychology

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The Stanford Department of Communication has long been a pioneer in studying the relationships between digital media, psychology and behavior. In the early nineties, Clifford Nass and his graduate students were among the first in the world to empirically examine constructs such as agency and anthropomorphism. Soon thereafter Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass published their landmark book, The Media Equation, which set the stage for a new research paradigm based on the notion that the brain has not evolved to differentiate mediated experiences from actual ones. Indeed, one of the fastest growing divisions of the International Communication Association, Communication and Technology, is substantially based on the work of Stanford scholars.

Currently, the area focuses on a number of ways in which digital media affect people. Jeremy Bailenson directs the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and studies the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive virtual reality. Jeff Hancock uses computational linguistics to analyze interpersonal relations in social media. Gabriella Harari studies the ways the digital technologies we use everyday reveal our personality structures and shape our life outcomes. Nilam Ram studies the dynamic interplay between psychological and media processes and how they change from moment-to-moment and across the life span. Byron Reeves utilizes physiological measures to understand media effects in multiplayer game technology, and develops applications for using those networked games to address critical issues such as global warming.

Students and faculty in the media psychology area collaborate frequently with other departments on campus. Current Communication faculty have active collaborations with scholars in computer science, education, psychology, engineering, linguistics, the business school, and MediaX. The department also draws a steady stream of visits from new media technology researchers.

Faculty — Media Psychology

Postdoctoral Scholars — Media Psychology

Doctoral Students — Media Psychology

Selected Graduates in Academia

  • Mark Miller, Ph.D. 2023. Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Mu-Jung Cho, Ph.D. 2020. Postdoc, Stanford School of Medicine, Pediatrics
  • Dave Miller, Ph.D. 2019. Postdoc, Cornell University
  • Dave Markowitz, Ph.D. 2018. Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Oregon
  • Jakki Bailey, Ph.D. 2017. Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
  • Rene Kizilcec, Ph.D. 2017, Assistant Professor, Information School, Cornell University
  • James Scarborough, Ph.D. 2017, Lecturer, Department of Communication, Cal Poly
  • James Cummings, Ph.D. 2016. Assistant Professor, Emerging Media Studies, Boston University
  • Jamy Li, Ph.D. 2016. Assistant Professor, Human Media Interaction, University of Twente, Netherlands
  • Andrea Stevenson Won, Ph.D. 2016. Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Cornell University
  • Yeon Joo, Ph.D. 2014, Associate Professor, Department of Digital Media, Myungji University
  • Dean Eckles, Ph.D. 2012, Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Kathryn Segovia, Ph.D. 2012, Head of Learning Experience Design, Stanford
  • Grace Ahn, Ph.D. 2011, Associate Professor, College of Journalism, University of Georgia
  • Jesse Fox, Ph.D. 2010, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, The Ohio State University
  • Roselyn Jong-Eun Lee-Won, Ph.D. 2009, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, The Ohio State University
  • Leila Takayama, Ph.D. 2008, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz
  • Sohye Lim, Ph.D. 2006, Associate Professor, EWHA Women’s University
  • Kevin Wise, Ph.D. 2004, Associate Professor, Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Eun-Ju Lee, Ph.D. 2000, Professor, Seoul National University
  • Katherine Isbister, Ph.D. 1998, Professor, Department of Computational Media at University of California Santa Cruz
  • Osei Appiah, Ph.D. 1998, Professor, School of Communication, The Ohio State University
  • Brian Fogg, Ph.D. 1997, Research Scholar, Stanford
  • Youngme Moon, Ph.D. 1996, Donald K. David Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School
  • Benjamin Detenber, Ph.D. 1995, Professor, School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University
  • S. Shyam Sundar, Ph.D. 1995, Distinguished Professor, Penn State University
  • Glenn Leshner, Ph.D. 1994, Professor, College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Oklahoma University
  • Michael Basil, Ph.D. 1992, Professor, School of Business, University of Lethbridge
  • Barbara Brown, Ph.D. 1989, School of Business, San Jose State (retired)
  • Michael Slater, Ph.D. 1988, Director and Professor, School of Communication, The Ohio State University

Selected Graduates in Industry and Nonprofit

  • Hanseul Jun, Ph.D. 2022. Software Engineer, Apple
  • Mufan Luo, Ph.D. 2021. Robinhood
  • Annabelle Ho, Ph.D. 2019, UX Researcher, Google
  • Catherine Oh, Ph.D. 2019, Researcher, Google
  • Megan French, Ph.D. 2018, UX Researcher, Facebook
  • Ketaki Shriram, Ph.D. 2017, CTO, Krikey
  • Leo Yeykelis, Ph.D. 2015, Head of UX Research, VMWare
  • Lorin Dole, Ph.D. 2011, UX Researcher, Google
  • Helen Harris, Ph.D. 2011, UX Research Manager, Google
  • Jiang Hu, Ph.D. 2011, Oracle
  • Katherine Murray, Ph.D. 2011
  • Victoria Groom, Ph.D. 2010
  • Shailendra Rao, Ph.D. 2010, Uber
  • Vanessa Vega, Ph.D. 2010, Research Associate, Rockman Et Al
  • Jane Wang, Ph.D. 2010
  • David Danielson, Ph.D. 2008
  • Nick Yee, Ph.D. 2007, Co-Founder and Analytics Lead, Quantic Foundry
  • Eva Jettmar, Ph.D. 2006
  • Scott Brave, Ph.D. 2003, CTO, Fullcontact, Inc.
  • Li Gong, Ph.D. 2001, Researcher, SAP
  • Raoul Rickenberg, Ph.D. 1999
  • Peter Orton, Ph.D. 1995, Media Research Scientist, IBM (retired)
  • David Voelker, Ph.D. 1994, Strategic Communication Consultant
  • Seth Geiger, Ph.D. 1990, President, Smith-Geiger Media Research