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Virtual and Augmented Reality will fundamentally change the way we work and play, learn and communicate.  Yet, how this will concretely happen is an open question.

CARISMA uses advanced laboratory technologies of today to simulate and study the transformtive impact of the communication technologies of tomorrow on individual and society.

  • What are the technical requirements to meet our perceptual criteria of reality and create credible virtual experiences?

  • How can we use virtual environments and avatars to increase individual wellbeing and improve communication and social outcomes? 

  • How can experiences in virtual worlds help solve problems in the real world?


CARISMA conducts three kinds of research across a variety of fields:

  1. The primary purpose of the Lab is to conduct basic theoretical research into interpersonal communication.

  2. The knowledge gained from these experiments along with the expertise of Michigan State’s Communication department can then be used in a variety of applied research, wherein theoretical principles are employed to address real-world problems.

  3. Finally, the technical capabilities of the Lab can be employed in realization research, in which devices and technologies in development can be tested and honed.


The CARISMA Lab is truly interdisciplinary, hosting groups from Communication, Kinesiology, Education, Engineering, Computer Science, Communication Science and Disorders, Media and Information, Astrophysics, Psychology, Nursing, Dentistry, and Theater Arts.

Basic Research

Social Perception in VR


Currently, we are developing a virtual environment in which previously developed characters (animated with motion capture from real body movements) exhibiting emotions through body movements are presented to participants. These stimuli will express varying degrees of anger or happiness. We wish to compare whether showing emotional stimuli in immersive VR leads to stronger physiological and nonverbal effects compared to traditional screen displays.


Basic Research


This series of theoretical research investigates questions of how the act of coordinating movement may impact prosocial outcomes such as a reduction in outgroup bias. The research makes use of high-resolution motion capture  technology to measure precise body movements and compares these between two interacting individuals. 

Acting together creates a powerful social bond
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