What is your academic history?
I received my BA in Psychology from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1971. In 1975 I received my PhD (Clinical Psychology) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently I am Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, University of Toledo. Previously I served on the faculty of the Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, and Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.
What emerging trends in social psychology are of current interest you?
My primary research interests are in video game violence effects, especially for children, particularly young children. The field of research in video game violence is moving beyond a simple effects model to working toward understanding how personality and cultural characteristics may impact how such exposure may affect a particular group. Addiction to video games, both on and off the Internet is another area of interest. Here we are just beginning to define the problem and how to measure its characteristics.
Are you inspired by any particular researchers?
I have been strongly influenced by the rigorous experimental design and analytic strategies of Brad Bushman and Craig Anderson.
What has been your most surprising/interesting research finding in your years of research?
My interest in desensitization effects from exposure to media violence led to the creation of two measures to examine attitudes toward violence and empathy. Both characteristics were found to be affected by video game violence exposure in children. Most recently, I have been examining how to measure engagement in video games as a way to assess one characteristic that may influence how people are affected by video game violence exposure. The Game Engagement Questionnaire developed by me and my colleague Dr. Christine Fox has had wide adoption in studies of video game impact.
What initially attracted you to the field of social psychology?
As a result of my pioneering research on children and video games (my first publication on the topic was in 1992), I met several social psychology researchers in a lobbying group sponsored by the American Psychological Association. Subsequently Craig Anderson and I testified for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation regarding the current state of research on violent video game effects. I also served on a primarily social psychology NIH study group for several years.
How did you first hear of SBP Journal and what has been your involvement with the journal in the past?
Through reading relevant research in my specific area, and reviewing grant applications I was exposed to and impressed by the variety and quality of research represented by the journal.