BU’s Communication Research Center has two new co-directors, Professors James Cummings and Mina Tsay-Vogel. Both College of Communication (COM) professors took over in January, 2016 for Professor Michael Elasmar, who had re-established the CRC in 1994.
To add to the already impressive reputation and technological options, Cummings and Tsay-Vogel added a few new features including a Multipurpose Research Room for experiments, interviews, and focus groups; virtual reality technology; a Naturalistic Research Area; and an iMotions data collection software suite. iMotions makes it possible for researchers to measure eye-tracking, skin response, heart activity, and facial expressions. Adding this new component to the Center will allow researchers to learn more about cognitive and emotional processing as well as the effects of media use. Through these
new advancements, Cummings and Tsay-Vogel have been carrying on Professor Elasmar’s hard work and are dedicated to making the CRC a hub for media research on campus.
To build a strong leadership team, Professor Cummings and Professor Tsay-Vogel joined forces to lead the Center as Co-Directors. Both of them are assistant professors in the College of Communication. Professor Cummings teaches in the Division of Emerging Media Studies and Professor Tsay-Vogel teaches in the Department of Mass Communication, Advertising, and Public Relations.
Professor Cummings focuses his research on issues of human-computer interaction, including the psychology involved in media multitasking behavior and experiencing virtual reality. After receiving his doctoral degree from Stanford University, he worked as a freelance consultant for mobile apps and social gaming, and as a user experience researcher at Google X. His interest in virtual reality and human responses, coupled with his previous experience, provides a perfect partnership with Professor Tsay-Vogel who studies the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses to entertainment, such as how reality television inspires viewers. Her most recent article titled, Social media cultivating perceptions of privacy: A 5-year analysis of privacy attitudes and self-disclosure behaviors among Facebook users, was published in August.
While Professor Cummings and Professor Tsay-Vogel both study communication and human response, their diversity in focus provides the CRC with a honed but inclusive mission to provide, “cutting-edge developments in communication research that provide an extraordinarily fertile ground for innovation and science.”
With 30 research fellows and students from various fields in communication, the CRC is a community of people who want to study communication effects and the vast capabilities of different media. Located in the basement of 704 Commonwealth Avenue, the CRC is open 24/7 for both faculty and students to use and develop their skills.
Emma Park is a senior, majoring in Advertising. A Los Angeles native, she enjoys hiking, water activities, and of course, good food. Catch her performing today’s top hits while stuck in traffic, or spot her at various In-N-Out locations around Southern California.
Photographer: Jie Yin (photos in the CRC lab)