Through his substantial and prolific record of research in the area of media neuroscience, René Weber has made important contributions to the field of communication. His research program focuses on complex cognitive responses to mass communication, video games, and new technology media messages. He has earned both the Ph.D. in Media Psychology and an M.D. in Psychiatry and Cognitive Neuroscience, providing him with a key combination of training in support of his development of theories that help us better understand the dynamic interactions between the human brain and mediated messages. He was the first communication scholar to regularly use fMRI methodologies to investigate a series of different media effects, from the impact of violence in video games to the effectiveness of anti-drug PSAs. He has published four books and more than 110 journal articles and book chapters (May, 2018). His research has been supported by grants from national scientific foundations in the United States and Germany, as well as through private philanthropies and industry contracts. The international significance of work is evidenced by several top paper awards, and “Outstanding Article” awards from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Advertising Research Foundation. He has been a high-profile public representative for communication science within the academy and the general public. He is on the editorial board of several top-tier communication and neuroscience journals. He was founder of the International Communication Association’s Communication Science and Biology Interest Group and served as its first Chair, helping to develop a sense of community among its members. He also served as Vice Chair/Chair of ICA’s Mass Communication Division.
Chelsea is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at UCSB. Her research interests include cognitive communication science and interactive media. Specifically, her research focuses on the relationship between cognitive sex differences, media usage, and media effects. She was awarded distinction in the major in Psychology for her research which examined how individual player differences such as spatial ability, and video game features including gender themes and spatial demands relate to female game preferences. Her research received third place at UCSB’s URCA annual colloquium in the Social Sciences category. Chelsea is an alumna of UCSB where she received a BA in both Communication and Psychology.
Frederic is a MA/PhD student in the Department of Communication at UCSB. Broadly speaking, his research explores media processes and effects from cognitive and neuroscientific perspectives. Specifically, his current research focuses on neural responses to morally-laden media content to predict real-world outcomes, such as media preferences or political judgment and decision making. Before attending UCSB, Frederic held several research assistant positions at the University of Mannheim, where he investigated the effects of cyberostracism in social media environments and the role of entertainment experiences for the processing of political talk shows. Frederic holds a BA in Media and Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science from the University of Mannheim.
Jacob is a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a researcher in the Media Neuroscience Lab, and a trainee of the National Science Foundation IGERT in Network Science and Big Data. He researches multimedia processing and media multitasking from a network neuroscience perspective. His current work investigates how certain digital environments can modulate attentional networks in the brain, and how these modulatory effects can be harnessed to develop novel treatments for cognitive processing disorders like ADHD.