Playing Video Games - Motives, Responses, and Consequences 12/5 12noon ESB1001

Event Date: 

Friday, December 5, 2008 - 12:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Engineering Sciences Building 1001

Rene Weber

Despite the popularity of video games, we still know very little about the motives, responses, and consequences of video game play, especially from a long-term perspective. The study of video games is relatively new to the field of media communication. This talk provides an overview on video game research from a social scientific perspective. Questions like “what are the video games people play?“; "why do people play video games?”; “what do people do with video games, and what do video games do to them?”, and a selection of latest research findings will be discussed.

René Weber's research is primarily focused on questions like “Why do people use and enjoy mass media?”, “How can we explain and predict the selection of media genres and media content?”, “How do people receive and interpret media content?”, and “What are the effects and consequences of using mass media?” Specifically, he is interested in cognitive and emotional effects of television and new technology media, especially new generation video games.

He is developing and applying both traditional social scientific and neuroscientific methodology (e.g. functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging/fMRI) in order to study media effects on humans.

René received his Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) in Germany for his work on the theory and methods of TV audience prediction. He developed a system that was tested and positively evaluated by media research professionals over a period of nearly two years. With his dissertation he introduced modern artificial intelligence approaches (e.g. neural networks) in communication research. He worked for the SAT.1/PROSEVEN networks in Germany as well as for NBC New York/Los Angeles. He was Assistant Professor in Research Methods and Statistics at the University of Technology in Berlin/Germany and an Associate/Guest Professor in Media Research at the University of the Arts in Berlin/Germany. He also worked as Post Doctoral Associate in the Entertainment program at the USC's Annenberg School for Communication, Los Angeles, where he served as PI for a German Research Foundation grant on "Quality of Entertainment" and as PI of studies using brain imaging techniques (fMRI) to test effects of playing video games.

He earned several awards and honors, e.g. Michigan State University’s “New Faculty Award” for the study “Neurophysiology of Entertainment” or Tuebingen (Germany) University’s “TL Foundation Award” for the study "Does Playing Violent Video Games Induce Aggression? Empirical Evidence of a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study”. For his dissertation he won the “Best Dissertation Award” of the German and Swiss Marketing Associations.