Skip navigation and jump directly to page content
Indiana University



Attention to, and Cognitive Processing of, Visual and Auditory Interface Elements in a Single-Player Video Game

Matt Falk

Previous studies in other mediums (television, radio, the web) have shown that changes in the mediated environment (such as cuts in television, voice changes in radio, etc), called structural features, automatically draw users' attention, causing an orienting response. This study seeks to determine whether the interface elements of video games (sometimes referred to as user interfaces, mods, or heads up displays) act as structural features of the media and cause an automatic attention response in players. Other work, such as Audio Habituation 1 + 2, done in the ICR has confirmed this phenomenon, and expanded the work to investigate the effect of time on that response. Those studies have shown that over time, the power of structural features in audio streams to draw automatic attention fades, or habituates. This study will also investigate the effect of time (over 20 minutes of game play) on the orienting response, as well as emotional reactions to positive and negative events experienced during routine game play.

Impact of Vocal Similarity on Automatic Attention to Voice Changes

Rob Potter, Ted Jamison-Koenig, Teresa Lynch, Sharon Mayell, & Matt Falk

This voice recognition study continues a line of ICR research exploring the cognitive processing of auditory stimuli in the form of radio messages. Auditory structural features which cause orienting responses include voice changes, production effects, silence, sound effects, music onsets, etc. To identify how differently audio-only messages are processed, the study examines whether individuals fail to detect voice changes when the vocal qualities of each speaker (fundamental frequency, timbre, prosody, etc.) are similar.  Research in change blindness (failure to perceive) and change detection (accurate recognition of change) has focused on visual stimuli, but not yet explored audio-only stimuli. The research question of change deafness looks at how orienting responses are elicited by unannounced voice changes, and to what degree subjects notice a change in speaker, as measured by free recall, cued recall, and recognition measures.  For more information, contact Rob Potter.

Symbolic Relevance

Annie Lang, Rachel Bailey, & Sean Connolly

Words and images are both symbolic of real world objects, however, the images seem to be more direct representations of those objects. This study examines how words and images that are symbolic of the same real world objects differ in form and valence accessibility as well as motivational response measured via psychophysiological response (heart rate, skin conductivity, facial electromyography). Further, individual differences in trait motivational reactivity may play a role in how accessible and intensely experienced different types of real world objects are. For example, the negative aspect of weapons and violence may generally be more accessible and evoke more intense motivational responses for a person with high aversive reactivity. Lastly, the role of other types of individual differences will be accessed (i.e. executive functioning, need for cognition, and personality factors).

Processing Third-person Perception in Persuasive Messages

Lelia Samson

The third-person perception (TPP) refers to the belief that media affects others more than oneself. Since its formulation, the TPP has been consistently supported. In spite of this strong support, few authors have considered its potential underlying mechanisms. This study aims to broaden the scope of ongoing research in TPP, to provide convergent validity for its theoretical arguments and a more comprehensive understanding of how this media effect occurs. I do so by using Chaiken’s (1980) Heuristic-Systematic Model, which proposes that there are two modes of cognitive processing. The first involves rapid, intuitive application of simple decision rules and heuristics. The second involves more elaborate systematic thinking requiring more cognitive resources and time.

Sex on TV

Paul Wright

Recent large-scale longitudinal studies have found prospective associations between youths' consumption of sexual television and intercourse initiation, pregnancy involvement and STI status. The last major content analysis of sex on television was conducted in 2005, however. Contemporary analyses of sex on television are planned for the content analysis lab. 


Symbolic Accessibility

Annie Lang, Rachel Bailey, & Sean Connolly

Words and images are both symbolic of real world objects, however, images seem to be more direct representations of those objects. This study wishes to examine how words and images that are symbolic of the same real world objects differ in recognition and valence accessibility. This study also examines the role of individual differences in this accessibility. Individual differences in trait motivational reactivity, executive functioning, need for cognition and other personality factors are being examined.

Real Ideal: The influence of video game character idealization and realism on body attitude

Nic Matthews, Teresa Lynch, & Nicole Martins

Video games often present players with an array of content that varies in terms of character idealization and realism. Social Comparison Theory argues that comparison is far more likely to occur when evaluators perceive an evaluation object as realistic and achievable. Previous research shows that video games cause body image disturbance. However, in regards to body image, the interaction between realism and idealization has never been investigated within video games. Real Ideal aims to explore these factors from a perspective guided by evolutionary psychology. 

Audio Habituation 2

Rob Potter, Matt Falk, Soyoung Bae, Teresa Lynch, Nic Matthews, Ashley Kraus, & Sharon Mayell

We know from past work that changes in the auditory environment cause people to briefly but automatically pay attention to the message.  We also know that the auditory structural feature of the voice change does this and doesn’t habituate.  The Audio Habituation studies are designed to look at automatic attention to repeated instances of audio production effects, jingles, and silence.  For more information, contact Rob Potter.

Cortical Response to Relevance

Alan Dennis, Rob Potter, Randy Minas, Valerie Bartelt, Soyoung Bae, & Matt Falk

Virtual teams are increasingly common in today’s organizations, yet they often make poor decisions. This experiment investigates these demands on participants during a virtual team decision-making process using electroencepholography (EEG), electrodermal response (EDR), and cardiac activity (EKG) as neural and psychophysiological correlates. Subjects are presented with a virtual team chat room environment, examining how virtual team members respond to targeted information, including factual information about the decision alternatives, normative information about other team member’s preferences for alternatives, and irrelevant information.