Research Interests

My research interests are largely focused on the potential positive and negative social impact of mediated communication at the individual level. Specifically, I am interested in developing a greater understanding of the uses, applications, and impacts of mediated socialization (e.g., online games, social networking websites, chat rooms, etc.) on ones’ inter- and intra-personal social and psychological well-being, particularly among socially vulnerable populations (e.g., socially anxious, lonely, geographically isolated, etc.). I am also interested in further exploring the potential for mediated social outlets to be enlisted as platforms for behavioral therapies (such as social skills training for the socially inhibited or anxious) and the relationships between video game play motivations, enjoyment, and satisfaction through the perspective of self-determination theory.

Currently, my research is primarily focused on the social impact of online games. This includes addressing the anecdotal claim that online game players are socially different/deficient as compared to offline or non-players, examining the impact of online video game play on offline friendship networks, and evaluating the tangible social benefits of online game play. My work in this area also aims to uncover the potential origin of any social differences (e.g., social compensation, displacement, or augmentation processes) by enlisting various methodological and statistical approaches.

In addition to my individual scientific pursuits, I am interested in uncovering new approaches to disseminating scientific information in ways that are accessible, understandable, and relatable to non-scientific audiences.

Current Projects

  • Reconceptualising “video game involvement”
  • Evaluating the potential for video game play to mitigate symptoms of PTSD among veterans
  • Exploring the influences of self-determination theory, behavioral drives (i.e., power/dominance and achievement), and individual preferences (i.e., play motivations) on continued game play, enjoyment, and retention