Putting the focus on media research

Whether our faculty and students are conducting a study, writing a book or producing a film, they’re adding to a rich tradition of groundbreaking research that extends over 100 years.

Student research opportunities

We foster a collaborative research atmosphere, making it possible for students at every level to get involved.

You might find yourself conducting interviews, observing test subjects, performing content and textual analysis, conducting experiments and surveys, or utilizing legal and historical methods.

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IU's communication program ranks among the top 10 worldwide in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, a study based largely on faculty research.

Research centers and institutes

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Our school is home to a number of research centers and archival collections that help facilitate cross-discipline endeavors and in-depth exploration.

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Faculty research spotlight

Description of the video:

>> I'm doing research on several aspects of media psychology at the moment, but one set of studies that are especially exciting to me is the research that my students and I are doing on human morality. I've always been interested in trying to understand what motivates people and how we make decisions, and moral judgments and behaviors are a big part of that. This is a really interesting time for the field in developing our understanding of just how morals work. There are new theories of moral psychology that have emerged to explain morality, but there's still so much that we don't know. For example, how and when do our morals change? Can you shift another person's moral compass? These are core questions for us right now, and we found that video games are a wonderful space in which to study these things. Morality is often based on emotion, and the old paper and pencil tests with moral dilemmas didn't do a very good job of capturing that emotion, but with video games people get immersed. They care about the characters, they feel the weight of their decisions, it's meaningful to them. So, right now, we're doing a set of studies where we look at moral judgments and decisions in games, and we tweak various aspects of the experience to see just how malleable our morals might actually be.

In a couple of these studies, for example, we've manipulated the narrative arc of the game, and we found that this influenced participants decisions not only within the game, but after the game play was over as well. Now we're manipulating players' emotional state to see how that affects their behavior as they move through the game world, and eventually we hope to get to a place where we have evidence that speaks to the relative influence of both cognition and emotion on a moral decisions, which would have a whole host of both theoretical and practical implications for how we think about morality.

Faculty bookshelf

"Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life" by assistant professor Cara Caddoo analyzes African-American history through the lens of cinema. (Harvard University Press, 2014).
"Power Button" by assistant professor Rachel Plotnick investigates the origins of today’s push-button society and the emphasis on command from a distance.
"Wildcat Currency: How the Virtual Money Revolution is Transforming the Economy" by professor Edward Castronova examines how the new ways of monetary exchange, such as the use of cards, electronic payment and points systems, may eventually replace government-run currency systems. (Yale University Press, 2015).
"Unfinished Work: The Struggle to Build an Aging American Workforce" by professor of practice Joe Coleman investigates how the aging workforces of countries like Sweden and Japan differ from that of the United States, and how each nation is dealing with the fact that the population will have to work longer as life expectancy improves. (Oxford University Press, 2015).
"Downtown Film and TV Culture 1975-2001" by associate professor Joan Hawkins is a collection of essays written by filmmakers, exhibitors, cultural critics and scholars about an experimental group of artists who have strong ties to punk music and culture (The University of Chicago Press, 2015).
"I am Ai" by senior lecturer Norbert Herber is about the 2012 National Cultural Festival Project in Japan. It traces the path of traditional indigo in Japan, from the soil of Tokushima to the workshops and the dyers throughout the country.
"Minitel: Welcome to the Internet" by assistant professor Julien Mailland and Kevin Driscoll of the University of Virginia describes the rise of Minitel, a French government-run computer network available to every telephone subscriber via a free terminal during the 1980s (MIT Press, 2017).