Media Effects Lab
The Media Effects Lab is one of the largest and most sophisticated of its kind within a mass communication program in the country. It is a state of the art experimental lab equipped with 16 computer stations and a living room area for research in a more natural environment. Researchers can measure audiences’ physical responses (heart rate, blood pressure, eye movement and brain activity) to various media messages as well as gather their attitudes toward those messages.
Experiments and projects track people’s responses to particular media content: what stimulates them; what doesn’t; what images they pay attention to; which ones don’t resonate. Specific software measures user interactivity and responses to news Websites and social networking sites. Unconscious attitudes can also be measured. For example, one study looks at the effectiveness of product placement in television dramas by using the heart rate as a measure of attention. This enables researchers to connect the individual’s involvement with the content, the product and the people using the product.