Assistant Professor of Psychology
Through three manuscripts, this dissertation explores the potential for understanding online and hybrid gaming communities through a community psychology perspective. The first manuscript reviews literature on online communities in major community psychology journals. Historically, community psychologists have focused on community building and maintenance, community support, communication norms, and advocacy. There are opportunities, however, to explore other topics relevant to community psychologists’ interests and collaborate with researchers in other fields. The second manuscript reports the findings of a mixed-methods survey of 496 fighting game community (FGC) members. It explores FGC members’ metastereotypes, explanations for why certain portrayals of the community exist, and their effects on the FGC. Generally, FGC members believe inaccurate stereotypes about the FGC specifically and the gaming community more generally exist, due in part to a lack of understanding and/or ulterior motives. Negative portrayals of the community are largely seen as harmful to the community. This study emphasizes understanding how communities believe others see them and how that can affect community dynamics. The final qualitative manuscript examines perspectives of the social identity of people who play games, emphasizing the importance of understanding the “gamer” identity through more than unidimensional measures like gaming habits. The variance in identity centrality, required behaviors, player motivations, and perceptions about the label highlight the complexity of the “gamer” identity label. Taken together, these manuscripts offer a rationale for and exemplars of studying online and hybrid gaming communities through a community psychology perspective. They also argue for an increased attention to opportunities for interdisciplinary work.
This study examined the effects of framing on participant interest and retention of diversity-related material. In this study, 204 students from undergraduate psychology courses across two universities read a vignette about Kenneth and Mamie Clark. The vignette was presented in the context of one of four frames that either highlighted or did not highlight their minority status and/or their status as leaders in their field. After reading the vignette, students responded to 13 items measuring recall of the material figures and 11 items assessing their interest in these figures. Participants also responded to the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy (SEE), Modern Racism Scale (MRS), and Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS). The data found in the present study provided varying levels of support for the hypotheses. The effects were stronger for Illinois participants, which may be due to the larger sample size collected and/or the greater diversity of the school population. These results bring to light an interesting potential area of future research that could eventually impact school curricula. It is possible that a better understanding of effective methods for engaging students in discussions of diversity may be around the corner. Participant race, gender, location, and major all had varying degrees of an effect on the results, indicating that, like many other topics in psychology, understanding how people react to diversity discussions is not simply black and white.
Magna cum laude, University Honors Scholar
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans communities
Open science and best practices