Assistant Professor of Communication, West Virginia University

Elizabeth Cohen studies what she calls the “the bright side” of media uses and effects -- how involvement with different media (e.g., television, social network sites, and digital games) affects people’s social lives. One of her primary areas of study focuses on how can people develop feelings of attachment to others they come to know through the media, such as celebrities, politicians, or even fictional characters. Her research is animated by questions about how these parasocial relationships evolve, and how they can improve people’s health, civic engagement, and well-being. She also studies how people are influenced by media messages when they get psychologically transported into the fictional worlds of entertainment media, like novels or television dramas. Finally, she has a growing research program on social contexts of media use. She is particularly interested in the social and emotional benefits of shared media experiences, like live Tweeting​ and television co-viewing between friends, fans, or family. Topics of some of her current research projects include narrative persuasion, parasocial interaction on social network sites, social TV, and fandom.

Experience

  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Communication, West Virginia University