Media Lab


The Media Effects Research Laboratory housed in the College of Communications at Penn State is a facility dedicated to conducting empirical research on the psychological effects of media content, form, and technology. Several experimental studies involving hundreds of subjects have been conducted in the lab since its opening in 1997. Experiments are executed by faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students taking classes in communication theory, media effects, and research methods, as well as independent projects, theses etc.

Experiments with television and computers in the Traditional Wing have tested the effects of structural features such as modality, and psychological outcomes of various content. More recently research in this lab has also tested various psychological effects of video game play. Experiments in the New Media Wing have involved studying the effects of animation on websites, loading time of websites on subjects' attention, arousal, memory, and content perception, and effects of content on stimulation of stereotypical thoughts. For a description of some recent media-effects studies conducted in the lab (and/or involved lab personnel), please click on the link below:

In addition to providing a physical space for conducting controlled experiments, the Media Effects Research Laboratory acts as a resource facility for researchers conducting experiments and surveys in all aspects of media effects. The lab also serves as an impetus for effects researchers to collaborate and share results and ideas. The lab helps prepare and pretest stimuli, and its personnel offer assistance in designing experiments and questionnaires.

Research Abstracts*

*-Author affiliation/student status listed is from when the original project was completed, and may not reflect author's current status.

Personalization, Customization, Tailoring, Power Users, Anthropomorphism

Interactivity, Political Interactivity, Political Attitudes, Impression Formation, Animation, Ad shape, Ad Attitude, Persuasion

Search Engines, Information Scent, Information Seeking, News Cues, Multimedia Messages, Internet Pornography

Web Advertising, Impression Formation, Animation, Website Credibility, Web Advertising, Memory for Web Ads

Emotion, Moods, Video Games, Creativity, Violence

Facebook, Social Networking, Interpersonal Perceptions

Physiological Responses, Skin Conductance, Physiological Arousal, Activation

Source Attribution, Perception and Processing of Online News, Internet News Credibility, Modality Effects

Race, Gender, Social Identity, Perception, Judgment, Stereotypes

Cell Phone Use, Interpersonal Communication, Computer-Mediated Communication, Online Relationships, Dating, Intimacy, Chatrooms, Virtual Cooperation, Impression-Formation,

Social Realities, Social Cognition, Advertising Effects, Self-Esteem, Body Satisfaction

Internet Use, Depression, Social Isolation, Problematic Internet Use, Effect of Internet Pornography

Avatars, Agents, Persuasive Effects of Online Agents, PSAs

Page last updated: January 7, 2015