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Our Research

At CcaM, our integrative body of scholarship falls into one of three larger domains - "The Experience of Media Entertainment", "Media Opportunities, Media Consequences", and "Media Management". Furthermore, as a result of funding awards, our Center is also currently taking a deep dive into "Individual Differences" and "Children and Social Robots".  CcaM scholars work collaboratively, and as such, they often find themselves working within more than one research domain.

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 The Experience of Media Entertainment

VRThis area of research investigates the media entertainment experience - including media selection and the conditions that predict sustained engagement and use. This research line aims to understand how, when, and why today’s entertainment media may meet the unique entertainment needs of young people.

In recent years, scholarship in this areas has investigated, for example: (1) how parents influence children’s entertainment experience, (2) the motivations behind young people’s media use, and (3) how youngsters approach touchscreen technology. In addition, this area also asks how to best measure media and offers theoretical reflections as to what entertainment looks like in today’s digital world.

In the coming years, this area of study will include an increasing focus on the digital entertainment space by asking – for example – the role of virtual reality in gaming as well as how physiological information may serve as a tool to understand this experience.

Scholars contributing to this research area include: Patti Valkenburg, Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Sindy Sumter, Jeroen Lemmens, Susanne Baumgartner, Rinaldo Kühne, Karin Fikkers, Ine Beyens, and Marthe Moller.

 

Media Opportunities, Media Consequences

 media effectsThis area of research investigates the opportunities and consequences associated with media use  - both  the effects that media has on audiences as well as the effects that media usage may have on one’s self (i.e., self-effects). This line aims to identify the boundaries of media effects and offer guidelines as to how we can maximize positive and minimize negative entertainment effects.

In recent years, scholarship in this areas has investigated a range of outcomes associated with media use – including: (1) online and offline behaviors (unhealthy food behaviors, sexual behavior and objectification, victimization, online-self presentation, aggressive behavior, prosocial behavior), (2) social-emotional development (e.g., empathy, wellness, self-esteem, ADHD) and (3) cognitive development (e.g., crystallized intelligence, fluid intelligence). A comprehensive review of these and related fields can be found in the book Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth – published (open access) by Patti Valkenburg and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski in Spring 2017.

In the coming years, this area of study will include an increasing focus on the effects digital entertainment space by asking – for example – how educational app design may influence learning effects, how social media may influence social-emotional development such as self-esteem, the opportunities of virtual reality for high-risk training scenarios, and the effects of gaming on intelligence.

Scholars contributing to this research area include: Patti Valkenburg, Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Sindy Sumter, Susanne Baumgartner, Annemarie van Oosten, Karin Fikkers, and Ine Beyens.

 

Media Management

texting teens via shutterstockIn this research line, researchers are asking how young people are managing media in the 21st century. Today’s young people find themselves in a situation where the lines between private and public life are often blurry. Moreover, this private time is rarely un-mediated – indeed, media omnipresence is increasingly the norm bringing with it questions about media multitasking and addiction. In this research line, researchers are interested in understanding the predictors, prevalence, and consequences of this ‘always-on’ lifestyle.

In recent years, scholarship in this areas has included attention to assessment media multitasking as well as the understanding its influence on cognitive behaviors.

In the coming years, this area of study will include an increasing focus on this “always-on” lifestyle by using experience sampling methodology to capture the dynamic nature of media use in teens’ lives and the role of well-being in this process.

Scholars contributing to this research area include: Sindy Sumter, Susanne Baumgartner, Jeroen Lemmens, Rinaldo Kühne, and Patti Valkenburg.

  

Deep Dive: The Role of Individual Differences

childrenAll CcaM scholars approach questions with nuance – with a specific focus on understanding the role of disposition, development, and social factors in predicting both media preference, media processing, and media effects. This is core to who we are as a Center and runs through all of our work.

As a research line, this field has been significantly supported by two large funded projects, which together have allowed CcaM researchers to take a deep dive in the role of individual differences in understanding the media experience of today’s young people.

Initially, this line of research was financially supported by an ERC-Advanced Grant awarded to Professor Patti Valkenburg in which a four-year longitudinal project (900 families in the Netherlands; two cohorts; 3-7 years old; 10-14 years old) was conducted to understand whether and how children may be susceptible to media effects – particularly in the context of aggressive behavior, ADHD symptoms, cognitive ability, prosocial behavior, and social-emotional development. Much of the work from this project has been published – particularly in the space of ADHD and violence - with additional results forthcoming in the coming year.

Since the ERC grant, this line of scholarship has been expanded as a result of the funded Consortium on Individual Development. The CID involves researchers from Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, University of Groningen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen, and VU University Amsterdam. In this project, collaborators are working to understand why some children thrive and others do not – with a specific focus on disposition and environment as relevant predictors for investigation.  In our role, we continue to  ask questions about which children, with which media, in which situations benefit most from media – and which do not.

Scholars contributing to this research area include: Patti Valkenburg, Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Karin Fikkers, and Ine Beyens.

 

Deep Dive: Social Robots in Childhood

naoAt CcaM, we find it crucial to investigate the newest questions on the horizon. This interest is exemplified by our research line on social robots. This line is supported by an ERC Consolidator Grant, awarded to Professor Jochen Peter, for the project “Children and social robots: An integrative framework”.

Over the next few years, Professor Peter and his team – working with our NAO robots! – will be investigating child-robot interaction (CRI). They will be focusing on the predictors of children’s acceptance of social robots, the consequences of CRI for children’s learning of social skills from social robots and their relationship formation with them, and the processes that explain how and why such effects emerge.

Scholars contributing to this research area include: Jochen Peter, Rinaldo Kuhne, Alex Barco Martelo, Caroline van Straten, and Chiara de Jong.