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Allison Eden

Allison Eden is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at MSU and scientific co-director of the CARISMA lab. She studies enjoyment of media entertainment, including television, video games, and virtual reality, using inter-disciplinary methods from communication science, psychology, and social neuroscience.  Her recent work focuses on using VR for laboratory and applied studies.

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Nolan Jahn
Laboratory Assistant

Nolan is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. He graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience and an M.A. in Communication from MSU and is eager to promote the integration of Communication Science with Biology. He is interested in audience responses to messages and in political and environmental communication. 

Gary Bente
Scientific Director

Gary Bente is a Professor in the Department of Communication and the founder and scientific director of the CARISMA Lab. His work has been published over 250 articles in major peer reviewed journals in the fields of psychology, communication science, cognitive science and neuroscience. His research focuses on study of human movement and nonverbal communication in real-life encounters and shared virtual environments. 

Google Scholar | Full CV


Ralf Schmälzle

Ralf Schmälzle [SHMAL-ts-lee] is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication He is uniquely cross-trained in communication, cognitive and affective neuroscience. His research focuses on the psychological and neurobiological effects of strong messages. He is specialized in measuring brain dynamics during realistic media use (VR, movies, stories) and health and risk communication. 

Google Scholar | Github  

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Sue Lim
Laboratory Assistant

Sue is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. She holds a B.A. in Marketing and an M.A. in Communication. She combines artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) methods to examine human-AI-communication and communication neuroscience.


Joomi Lee - Graduate Student - Now PostDoc at UGeorgia
Eric Novotny - Graduate Student - Now PostDoc at UGeorgia
Matthew Klein - Master Student - Now Doctoral Student at UGeorgia
Andrea Schaaf - Ph. D. Student - Now Researcher at Meta

We believe that our science is better with a diverse team. We embrace and encourage our lab members’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, socio-economic status, and other characteristics that make our lab members who they are.




Grace Ahn

University of Georgia


Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn is an Associate Professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, and the founding director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab. Her main program of research investigates how interactive digital media such as virtual and augmented reality transform traditional rules of communication and social interactions, looking at how virtual experiences shape the way the way that people think, feel, and behave in the physical world. 


Nicole Krämer

Universität Duisburg-Essen


Nicole Krämer (PhD University of Cologne) is Full Professor of Social Psychology, Media and Communication at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Her research focuses on social psychological aspects of human-machine-interaction and computer-mediated-communi-cation (CMC). She investigates processes of information selection, opinion building, and relationship maintenance of people communicating via Internet, especially via social networking sites. 


Harald Schupp

Universität  Konstanz


Harald Schupp is Professor for General and Biological Psychology at the University of Konstanz. He is a member of the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour (a German Cluster of Excellence at the University of  Konstanz and the co-located Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior). His research focuses on the assessment of emotional and motivational processes using neuroscientific (high-density electroencephalography, functional MRI) and behavioral tracking methods.


Jeremy Bailenson

Stanford University


Jeremy Bailenson is Thomas More Storke Professor in the Department of Communication, Professor (by courtesy) of Education, Professor (by courtesy) Program in Symbolic Systems, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. He is the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. Bailenson studies the Psychology of Virtual Reality (VR) and how virtual experiences influence human cognition and behavior. 


Marc Latoschik

Universität Würzburg


Marc Latoschik studied mathematics and computer sciences at the Universities of Paderborn, the New York Institute of Technology and Bielefeld. After several years in the computer business, he received his PhD in 2001 in the area of multimodal–gesture and speech–interaction for Virtual Reality. He holds the chair for human-computer interaction at Würzburg University. His work combines human-computer interaction, real-time 3D graphics, virtual aenvironments, Artificial Intelligence, and cognitive sciences.


Kai Vogeley

Universität  zu Köln


Kai Vogeley studied medicine and philosophy at Düsseldorf, Baltimore and London. He passed board examinations for neurology, psychiatry and psychotherapy. In 2004 he was appointed as professor at the University Hospital Cologne. Since 2011 he is leading a research group “social cognition” at the Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine – Cognitive Neuroscience (INM3) at the Research Center Jülich. His research interests focus on neural correlates of social cognition, autism, and schizophrenia. 


Frank Biocca

New Jersey Insitute of Technology


Frank Biocca directs the Newhouse School’s M.I.N.D. Lab and he is a World Class University Professor at Sunkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea. His work focuses on how mind and media can be coupled to extend human cognition and enhance performance. He has studied the psychology of presence in virtual environments, spatial cognition and information organization in high-bandwidth and collaborative augmented reality systems. He holds patents on augmented reality technology. 


Niklas Ravaja

University of Helsinki


Niklas Ravaja is Professor of eHealth and well-being at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki. Previously he has been Professor of Social Psychology of ICT at the University of Helsinki, HCAS Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, and Director of Research at the School of Business, Aalto University. His areas of expertise include eHealth and mediated and non-mediated social interaction and emotional and psycho-physiological processes during interaction .


Rene Weber

UC Santa Barbara


René Weber is Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California in Santa Barbara and director of UCSB’s Media Neuroscience Lab. His research focuses on cognitive responses to motivationally relevant narratives in traditional and new technology media. He served as the Chair of the International Communication Association's Mass Communication Division and is currently the Chair of the association’s Communication Science and Biology Interest Group.



Academic Partners at MSU

  • Subir Biswas | Engineering 

  • Vishnu Boddeti | Computer Science & Engineering 

  • Andrew Dennis | Media & Information 

  • Laura Dilley  | Communicative Science and Disorders 

  • Florian Kagerer | Kinesiology 

  • Peter LaPine | Communicative Science and Disorders

  • Andrew Mason | Engineering 

  • Hayder Radha | Engineering 

  • Rajiv Ranganathan | Kinesiology 

  • Rabindra (Robby) Ratan | Media & Information 

  • Mark Reimers | Neuroscience

  • Raphaela Schlicht-Schmälzle | College of Education

  • Jeffrey Searl | Communicative Science and Disorders

  • Ron Tamborini | Communication

Industry Partners

  •            ArborXR | VR Fleet & Content Management

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