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Communication scholars seek advances in media neuroscience

Washington DC (April 24, 2013) Scholars in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have founded the Media Neuroscience Lab, one of a small but growing number of research groups attempting to understand the use and influence of media technologies by utilizing innovative techniques from cognitive neuroscience. In light of President Obama's recently-announced BRAIN Initiative, these researchers hope to highlight the important contributions to the social sciences which can be made through studying the brain.

The Media Neuroscience Lab, led by Ren Weber, Ph.D., M.D., Chair of the Mass Communication Division of the International Communication Association (ICA), studies a range of media-related topics from an interdisciplinary perspective. Current lines of study include the impact of media violence on society, understanding the neuroscience of persuasion in order to craft more effective public service announcements, examining the cognitive and behavioral effects of video games and other interactive computer-mediated environments, and observing the ways that mass-media narratives are designed to appeal to fundamental moral intuitions.

This type of research is increasingly influential in social science generally and the field of communication in particular. Communication researchers will meet this summer to exchange their findings at the first-ever Preconference on Evolution, Biology, and Brains, which will precede the 2013 Conference of the International Communication Association in June. Presenters are scheduled to include members of the Media Neuroscience Lab, the University of Michigan's Communication Neuroscience Lab, and dozens of other scholars from five different nations.

In addition to faculty members from UCSB's Department of Communication, the Media Neuroscience Lab also includes affiliated researchers from the UCSB Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, as well as other universities around the world.


Contact: John Paul Gutierrez
International Communication Association

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