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The Media Research Lab at Iowa State University has historically focused on both what might be considered "positive" and "negative" effects of mass media on children, adolescents, and adults.  These include studies on

  • Prosocial media viewing and prosocial behaviors
  • Media violence consumption and aggressive cognitions, feelings, and behaviors
  • Beer advertising and youth drinking
  • Gaming disorder (colloquially called video game "addiction")
  • Media use and attention deficit problems
  • Media use and youth obesity
  • Media use and school performance
  • Cyberbullying
  • Digital Literacy programming
  • Parental monitoring of children's media as a protective factor for healthy youth development
  • And several other aspects of media and health

Current Foci

There are two primary areas where research is focused currently. 

Gaming Disorder

  • In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association included Internet Gaming Disorder as a condition worth further study in the DSM5.  In 2018/9, the World Health Organization included Gaming Disorder as a bona fide mental health disorder in the ICD-11.  The APA is considering revisions to the DSM5 currently (and I'm on the committee that will be advising them).  Therefore, there is an opportunity to make a difference by providing research that can inform their decision.  This is where a lot of our efforts will be focused the next few years.

Mindfulness practices, broadly defined

  • After spending much of my career examining how healthy development can be hindered, I am now including work on how it can be improved through contemplative practices such as mindfulness meditation.  We have projects related to mindful communication, mindfulness and aggression, and others underway.

Digital Literacy Education

  • Although not as high a priority, we are also involved in digital literacy programming and research with the Iowa Media Literacy program and the DQ Digital Intelligence programs.  There are opportunities to be involved in this work.