Within the domain of new technologies, I am interested in several areas, some of which are shaped by my amazing collaborators. Here’s a rundown of some current foci:

Romantic relationships. After giving out far too much dating advice in Silicon Valley, I became interested in investigating how communication technologies (particularly social networking sites and texting) are changing the way we experience romantic relationship escalation, maintenance, and dissolution. I’ve conducted several studies with Dr. Katie Warber at Wittenberg University [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] and have several projects under way with my amazing graduate students.

Sex, gender, and sexuality. I am interested in how sex and gender are presented online; how existing stereotypes are perpetuated and refuted in virtual environments; and how sexualized representations in virtual worlds, video games, and social networking sites impact attitudes and behavior. My research in this area has included studies on reactions to stereotypical and sexualized avatars [ 1, 2 ], sexist content on social media, discrimination and sexual harassment in online video game environments [ 3, 4 ], and LGBTQ+ experiences on social media [ 5 ].

Health. In the realm of health, I am predominantly interested in how avatars and virtual environments can be used to change health behaviors [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ], including exercise [ 5, 6, 7 ], diet [ 8, 9 ], and sun protection.

Environmental communication. My interest in environmental communication has been sparked by collaborators, particularly Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn at the University of Georgia. We have several projects underway investigating the role of technology in influencing environmental self-efficacy and behavior [ 1 ].