Dept. of Telecommunications.
Radio-TV Center, Room 311
weaveraj 'at' indiana.edu
Joined IU, 2006. Member of the Graduate Faculty. B.A., DePauw University, 1997 (Psychology); M.A. and Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006 (Speech Communication).
My program of research could broadly be described as media psychology. That is, I am interested in why people consume certain types of content and how this content affects them and my work is informed by what we know about mental processes. I have research projects currently in progress in three focus areas:
Media violence. I’m working on developing a better understanding of how and why people consume violent content. This has included an examination of several content domains, including video games, television drama, and children’s cartoons, using a variety of research methods (e.g., meta-analysis, psychophysiology, self-report, content analysis).
Recently published work in this area:
Martins, N., Weaver, A. J., Yeshua-Katz, D., Lewis, N., Tyree, N., & Jensen, J. D. (in press). A content analysis of print news coverage of media violence and aggression research. Journal of Communication.
Matthews, N. L., & Weaver, A. J. (in press). Skill gap: Quantifying the amount and type of generated violent content in video game play between variably skilled users. Mass Communication & Society.
Weaver, A. J., Zelenkauskaite, A., & Samson, L. (2012). The (non)violent world of Youtube: Content trends in Web video. Journal of Communication, 62, 1065-1083.
Kobach, M., & Weaver, A. J. (2012). Gender and empathy differences in negative reactions to fictionalized and real violent images. Communication Reports, 25, 51-61.
Weaver, A. J., & Kobach, M. (2012). The relationship between selective exposure and the enjoyment of television violence. Aggressive Behavior, 38, 175-184.
Weaver, A. J. (2011). A meta-analytical review of selective exposure to and the enjoyment of media violence. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 55(2), 1-19.
Weaver, A. J., Jensen, J. D., Martins, N., Hurley, R., & Wilson, B.J. (2011). Liking violence and action: An Examination of gender differences in children's processing of animated content. Media Psychology, 14, 49-70.
Weaver, A. J. & Wilson, B. J. (2009). The role of graphic and sanitized violence in the enjoyment of television dramas. Human Communication Research, 35, 442-463.
Weaver, A. J., Potter, R. F., & Bae, S. (under review). Physiological responses to manipulation of violence in a primetime television drama.
Moral choice in video games. My interest in the appeal of media violence has expanded into thinking about what happens in video games when players are given choices about their violent activity. This, in turn, has led to a few new research projects on moral choice in games. I’m especially interested in why players make the choices they do (e.g., are they guided by real-world moral codes, do they adopt the moral code of the narrative they’ve entered, or do they disregard morality in the game environment altogether?). I’m also interested in how the moral (or immoral) choices players make impact their enjoyment of and emotional reactions to the game.
Recently published work in this area:
Weaver, A. J. & Lewis, N. (2012). Mirrored morality: An exploration of moral choice in video games. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15, 1-5.
Ross, T., & Weaver, A. J. (2012). Shall we play a game? How the behavior of others influences strategy selection in a multiplayer game. Journal of Media Psychology, 24, 102-112.
Weaver, A. J., Mathews, N., & Lewis, N. (in prep.). Narrative immersion and player intuitions: When does moral perspective-taking occur?
Weaver, A. J., & Mathews, N. (in prep.). The relationship between gameplay and moral frameworks: Testing the MIME model.
Race and selective exposure. My third research focus involves examining the impact of the race of characters in entertainment media on selective exposure to that content. With movies in particular there seems to be an assumption that casting minority actors will cause White audiences to avoid the film. I am exploring whether that perception is accurate, and if so, why outgroup audiences would practice selective avoidance and how this effect could be overcome.
Recent published work in this area:
Weaver, A. J. (2011). The role of actors’ race in White audiences’ selective exposure to movies. Journal of Communication, 61, 369-385.
Kharroub, T., & Weaver, A. J. (revise and resubmit). Portrayals of women in transnational Arab television drama series.
Weaver, A. J. (under review). An examination of the potential mediators of the relationship between actors’ race and selective exposure to movies.
Kharroub, T., & Weaver, A. J. (in prep.). Selective exposure and identification with fictional characters in the transnational Arab television industry.
Weaver, A. J. (in prep.). Marketing, perceptions of the intended audience, and selective avoidance of media featuring a racial outgroup.
If you’d like copies of any of the published or under review work above, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a current or prospective student interested in doing research in one of these areas, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss any of the ongoing projects.
My teaching interests spring from the above research concentrations. Among the classes I teach are:
T191 – Race and Media
T205 – Intro. to Media and Society
T317/T641 – Children and Media
T451/S451 – The Appeal of Media Entertainment
T602 – Media Violence
C104 – Media Psychology