The Media School
mkobach 'at' indiana 'dot' edu
CV (.docx format)
As a Ph.D. candidate some of my academic interests have included the effects of racial depictions in mediated sports, the role mediated violence plays in enjoyment and consumption, how attitudes can be shaped by exposure pornographic images, and how people use social networking technologies (SNT) to fulfill basic social needs. A theme throughout my research is that mediated technology is constantly changing, and our human mind cannot keep pace. The human brain was designed for face-to-face interpersonal and small group communication; it certainly was not designed to use various forms of electronic media. Thus, we as humans are using our "old" brains to interact with our new media. As a result humans tend to utilize advances in communication technologies in furtherance of the social and psychological needs and goals that they have been striving to fulfill for much of their evolutionary history. Therefore it is reasonable to expect that any media technology that allows the extension of key aspects of interpersonal and small group interactions, and which minimally limits other key components of those interactions, will be more widely embraced by users. It is this notion that led to a natural interest in SNTs such as Facebook. It is my contention that by understanding the fundamental social needs humans seek to fulfill when communicating through SNTs it is possible to predict specifically how people will use such technology. Doing so may allow specific predictions about SNT use patterns based on theories of human social interaction to be posed and tested.
I have called Bloomington, Indiana my home since I began my undergraduate studies at IU in 1999. In that time, I have developed a fondness of this city because of its ideal mix of culture, nightlife, and natural beauty. Outside of examining how our ancestral minds function in our current mediated environment, I enjoy sports (both as a participant and spectator), hiking and swimming with my dog, and music.