Assistant Professor of Communication, West Virginia University

I study the “the bright side” of media uses and effects, or the prosocial impact of involvement with different media (e.g., television, social network sites, and digital games) on people’s social lives. One my 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. My research is animated by questions about how these parasocial relationships evolve, and how they can improve people’s health, civic engagement, and well-being. I also study 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, I have a growing research program on social contexts of media use. I am 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 my 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