René Weber is Professor in the Department of Communication and lead researcher at UCSB’s Media Neuroscience Lab. His recent research focuses on cognitive responses to mass communication and new technology media messages, including video games. He develops and applies both traditional social scientific and neuroscientific methodology (fMRI) to test media related theories. His research has been published in major communication and neuroscience journals and in three authored books. He is an Executive Council member of UCSB’s SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, project leader at UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnology (News Narrative Analyzer Project), and one of five neuromarketing experts accredited by the Advertising Research Foundation. René served as past Chair of the International Communication Association’s Mass Communication Division and he is currently the Chair of the International Communication Association’s Communication Science and Biology Interest Group
Michael Mangus recently completed his PhD in the UCSB Department of Communication. His scholarly interests include group coordination, power structures, and collective action in mediated contexts; evolutionary and materialist approaches to communication theory; and the philosophy of social science. Michael holds a BS, magna cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Science and an MA from UCSB. In addition to conducting research, he oversees and maintains the Lab’s information infrastructure.
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.
Ori Amir recently completed his PhD in Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Southern California. His published work investigates visual object recognition and its development as well as the neural basis for perceptual pleasure (e.g., shape preferences, insight, humor). He has also studied the neural basis for humor creation, including a study where he made comedians improvise while undergoing fMRI scanning. Ori’s recent work focuses on computational approaches to studying humor. He is joining the Media Neuroscience Lab to explore the cognitive processing of moral narrative, its neural correlates, and the ways in which neural responses to moral content predict real-world outcomes.
Jacob Fisher (M.A., Texas Tech University) is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at UCSB and a Trainee in the National Science Foundation IGERT in Network Science and Big Data. His research focuses on dynamic attentional networks, salience filtering, multitasking, and media processing in ADHD and Autistic Populations. Before joining the lab, Jacob worked as an Academic Counselor in the TECHniques Center at Texas Tech University, focusing on the creation and analysis of success strategies for students with learning and developmental disabilities in higher education. His work has been presented at various national conferences, including the National College Learning Center Association, the Association on Higher Education and Disability, and the Association for the Tutoring Profession.