Iowa State University Media Research Lab

The studies below are a selection of some of our recent research.

Longitudinal Video Game Study (US)

This is a three-year longitudinal study of 900 2nd, 4th, and 9th grade children in Michigan and Iowa, in which we hope to gain a detailed understanding of how violent video games interact with personality variables and behaviors.  Federally Funded: NICHD $1.7 million
Longitudinal Video Game Study (Singapore)
This is a three-year longitudinal study of over 2500 elementary and secondary schoolchildren in Singapore, in which we are measuring a wide array of variables, including violent games, prosocial games, video game “addiction,” school performance, risk and resilience factors, and healthy use of games.  Government funded: MOE & MDA, $399,000 SGD
Television and Psychologists
This is a set of studies examining how television portrayals of psychologists and mental health workers may affect attitudes about psychologists and decrease willingness to seek help
Switch (TM) Obesity Prevention Program
This is an obesity prevention program (designed by the National Institute on Media and the Family). It attempts to change elementary schoolchildren’s attitudes and habits around three health behaviors: Reducing total screen time, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and increasing physical activity.  Early results in two states appear very promising.  Foundation funding: $1.2 million

Prosocial Video Game Effects

This is an experimental study of how playing prosocial video games (where characters help each other in nonviolent ways) can increase helpful behavior in a short-term context.

The differences between violent music and violent music videos

This is an experimental study testing to see whether music with violent lyrics has the same effect on aggressive cognitions as the music video (of the same songs).  The early results suggest that the violent images are much more important than the lyrics.

Beer advertising and youth drinking

This is a study of over 1,500 7th through 12th graders in two states, which examines how beer advertising may influence youth drinking behavior.

Pathological Use of Video Games

This is a set of studies designed to test the validity of the idea of video game “addiction.”  The early results suggest that there may be a subset of gamers who do seem to have a problem that is serious enough that it is causing damage to several areas of their lives.

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