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Conferences & Invited Lectures

Associate Professor Jon Schuldt participated in “Experts on Camera,” a series of interviews with scientists hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which are made freely available to journalists for use in their stories. Jon’s conversation, “What Motivates People to Care about Climate Change (or Not),” addressed the factors that affect people's concerns about climate change, trends in public opinion on the issue, the role played by language and terminology, and advice for reporters covering climate change. 

Jon also delivered a paper to the World Association for Public Opinion Research entitled “Using Population Benchmarks and Different Survey Methods to Improve Survey Representation, Accuracy, and Costs.” The talk provided an overview of Jon’s NSF-funded Collaborative Midterm Survey and how it can serve as a model for evaluating how different combinations of survey methods can be used to evaluate different social science research questions.

Assistant Professor Andrea Stevenson Won, Yilu Sun, Swati Pandita, Jack Madden, Byungdoo Kim, N. G. Holmes will deliver the paper “Exploring Interaction, Movement and Video Game Experience in an Educational VR Experience” at the SIGCHI conference. Their paper shows that findings of increased engagement and preference for XR learning are well-established. However, there are concerns that the high sense of presence that virtual reality can engender may increase cognitive load and actually decrement learning outcomes. Recent research has highlighted the importance of understanding the contributions of embodiment to learning in virtual reality. In their paper, they analyze previously unpublished secondary data of participant interactions, movements, and presence ratings to investigate how user behavior may predict learning in embodied, immersive virtual environments, and how this can guide the development of broadly useful XR interventions. They find that increased global movement predicts higher post-test scores, but more embodied interactions (i.e., dragging the Moon using hand gestures rather than button presses) do not improve learning. Rather, actions linked to greater familiarity with video game play predict greater learning of the subject matter. Swati and Byungdoo are recent Ph.D. graduates. 

Andrea is also delivering an invited lecture Entitled “Clinical Applications of Social Virtual Reality,” as part of Michigan State University’s I&M Speaker Series. Some of the earliest applications of virtual reality have been in medicine; as an educational and training tool, as a tool to treat phobias and for exposure therapy, and as an adjunctive treatment for pain. Her paper shows that with the advent of less expensive, more accessible social virtual reality, a wealth of new virtual reality applications for health are arising. Some build on existing interventions in older virtual worlds, and some experiences take on new challenges. In this talk, she reviews current work on therapeutic applications of social virtual reality and discusses specifically how it can be used to address issues of pain and social isolation in hospitalized patients. reason in learners in educational settings.

Grants

Associate Professor Brooke Duffy received a 2023 Cornell Center for Social Sciences grant for her project “Creators, Platforms, and the New Politics of Visibility.” The research draws upon in-depth interviews with participants in the digital Creator Economy to examine the promises, perils, and paradoxes of the platform-dependent labor. In so doing, it considers how platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch may enable—or, conversely, thwart—a new politics of visibility.

Professor Katherine McComas, Postdoctoral Associate Dominic Balog-Way, and Lecturer Catherine Lambert also received a 2023 Cornell Center for Social Sciences grant. Their project, “Advancing Trans-Atlantic Research on Renewable Energy Transitions” The Case of Deep Geothermal,” examines the fallibility of transitioning to renewable energy systems without adequate attention paid to public engagement with promising new technologies like deep geothermal systems. They research investigates public opinion about deep geothermal to advance social science research on this topic and solidify a policy-engaged, trans-Atlantic collaboration.

Honors

Graduate student Stephanie Belina was named a Roper Center Kohut Research Fellow. Kohut Fellows engage in their own original public opinion-focused research project using data from the Roper Center archives; learn about the methods and techniques of survey research and other forms of public opinion research, analysis, and dissemination; and participate in Roper Center supervised projects at a level appropriate to their abilities, training and educational goals. Kohut Fellows will receive a $5,000 summer stipend. 

Congratulations to Lecturer Jamal Uddin who successfully defended his dissertation, entitled “Influencing Women's Birth Decision in Bangladesh and Their Maternal Health Information Seeking Behavior: Applying Health Belief Model and Theory of Planned Behavior,” at Howard University! 

Congratulations to our undergraduate student awardees!

Therese Fischer, winner of the Kenneth John Bissett Award

Melissa LaFountain, winner of the Edward L. Bernays Award

Liam Monahan, winner of the Anson Rowe Award

Lauren Pappas, winner of the Alfred N. Schwartz Prize

In the Media

Associate Professor Brooke Duffy  was quoted in the CBS News article “Twitter Blue “Debacle: Dead Celebrities Receive Check Marks, Impersonators Jump in.”

Postdoctoral Associate Sarah Gilbert was quoted in the Vice article “Reddit Moderators Brace for a ChatGPT Spam Apocalypse.”

Professor Jeff Niederdeppe, Assistant Professor Neil Lewis, Jr., Postdoctoral Associate Jiawei Liu et al. published “Strategic Messaging to Promote Policies that Advance Racial Equity: What Do We Know, And What Do We Need to Learn?” in Milbank Quarterly. To learn more about their research, which argues for more communication research with marginalized people around messages in equity, check out the Cornell Chronicle feature.

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