Minds & New MediaResearch Project Idea No. 1: Psychological factors with disclosure. New and emerging technologies provide a richer experience (and increase their economic viability) when people are willing to share: Their location, mood, likes and dislikes, political opinions, etc. What are the psychological processes involved in the decision of whether to share information? What platforms and designs encourage/inhibit various types of disclosure? The project could consist of both a literature review and some sort of experiment or survey, although I am unsure exactly what research design would be most appropriate for these questions. It would be fascinating to collect some psychophysiological data and learn more about how the brain makes these decisions.
Idea No. 2: Immersive learning environments and parental self-efficacy Videos games that promote child learning are a booming business. But what about games that teach expectant and new parents how to be good parents? A Google search did not turn up a single example. The coming generation of parents have all been raised on video games. Parenting – like being a surgeon or pilot – is a high-wire act where some mistakes are irreversible. Likewise, new and expecting parents may be more willing to reveal and address shortcomings in a virtual environment than with a doctor or peers. Research has shown that a child’s earliest experience profoundly shapes his/her cognitive abilities http://www.library.ca.gov/crb/98/01/98001.pdf; http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam032/99025362.pdf It has also shown that increasing parental self-efficacy leads to better outcomes for the children, and for the entire community in which they live. Dumka, L., Gonzales, N., Wheeler, L., & Millsap, R. (2010). Parenting self-efficacy and parenting practices over time in Mexican American Families. Journal of Family Psychology. 24(5), 522-531, doi: 10.1037/a0020833 I have written a literature review for another class that looks at parental self-efficacy and social cognitive theory. I propose to extend that review and to focus it on the potential of new and emerging technologies, particularly immersive and networked gaming. If such a game does exist, we could test its effectiveness experimentally. If not, the paper could include a discussion of potentially beneficial design elements and how we would test such a game, with the goal of actually producing the game over the summer or Fall 2012.
Idea No. 3: News as mediating effect on video game violence’s desensitizing effect. Research covered in class has shown that violent video games desensitize people to real violence. Heavy users had lower P3 brain waves when they were shown images of real violence than light users. P3 is a measure of aversion. Both groups played a round of a violent game before being shown the photo. For this project, I propose an experimental design similar to the one employed for the study referenced above. However, in this case, I’d propose to create several groups: Group 1: Survey to determine violent gaming level > Playing of a violent game > Exposure to images of real violence while measuring P3 Group 2: Between the playing and the viewing of the real violence, they’d watch a TV news broadcast about a violent incident. Group 3: Between the playing and the viewing of the real violence, we’d have the participants read a news article framed a straight news report. Group 4: Between the playing and the viewing of the real violence, we’d have the participants read a news article framed as a human-interest narrative that personalizes the consequences of violence. In addition to testing some of the theories covered in this course, this would also significantly expand framing theory, for which I have already constructed a decent literature review that we could incorporate here . H1: Group 4 < Desensitization than Group 1 H2: Group 2 & 3 = Group 1 Desensitization