E37 The Answer is Gray: Is Gaming Good or Bad for Us? (feat., Dr. Vasileios Stavropoulos)

Dr. Vasileios Stavropoulos describes his fascinating research about using cyber-phenotypes (e.g., uses of and attitudes about games, avatars, etc.) to predict health markers of depression (e.g., reduce sleep, appetite, interest in other activities). He eloquently explains how the effects of gaming are not uniform, but depend on individual differences (e.g., age, psychological profiles). We discuss the potential for regulations to promote healthy uses of games (spoiler alert: he thinks time-based restrictions are less effective than regulation of mechanisms, like loot boxes and algorithms). We also explore a few virtual worlds together in ENGAGE, a virtual reality meeting platform, while the live studio audience spawned farm animals in the background.






About the SPARTIE Lab:

The Social and Psychological Approaches to Research on Technology-Interaction Effects (SPARTIE) Lab performs research on the effects of human-technology interaction, examining how the use of media technologies (e.g., avatars, agents, automobiles) influences meaningful outcomes (e.g., education, health/safety, persuasion).

The SPARTIE Lab is part of the greater academic community at the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. More information on the lab's research projects, staff, and work can be found on the SPARTIE Lab website.

About the host:

Dr. Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, Ph. D., is an associate professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information and is the director of the SPARTIE Lab.

He is also an affiliated faculty member of the MSU Department of Psychology, the MSU College of Education’s program in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology, and the MSU Center for Gender in a Global Context. Ratan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, his M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society, also from Stanford University.

Dr. Ratan conducts research on the effects of human-technology interaction, examining how media technologies (e.g., avatars, agents, automobiles) influence meaningful outcomes (e.g., persuasion, education, health/safety). He is particularly interested in the Proteus effect, media-rich transportation contexts, perceptions of media as self-representations and/or social others, avatarification for health and education, and gender stereotypes in gaming contexts.

Dr. Ratan lives near Lansing with his family. More information on his work can be found on his website.