Several Department of Communication faculty members maintain research laboratories where they explore cutting-edge questions.
All Department of Communication faculty members serve as mentors for students, and many offer opportunities to undergraduates to participate in research. We encourage students to consult individually with faculty members in their areas of interest. Undergraduate students in all years of study have involved themselves in research labs through group study courses and individual directed study. Both approaches enable students to earn academic credit. Students also can gain employment as research assistants in these or other laboratories.
Computational Communication Research Lab (Martin Hilbert, Seth Frey and Cindy Shen)
The digital revolution has not only revolutionized human communication, but also the way we can study it. As the massive digital footprint becomes increasingly available with tremendous granularity and precision, we are able to address core questions in communication studies in new ways. In the Computational Communication Research Lab (C^2 lab or C-square lab), Professors Martin Hilbert, Cindy Shen and Seth Frey focus on using digital trace data and computational social science methods to examine fundamental questions in communication. Students set out to gain first research experience by collecting and analyzing evidence about innovative aspects of the digital data footprint, including social media, laws and the impact of algorithms in our everyday life.
Virtual Interaction & Communication Technology Research lab (Jorge Peña)
Professor Jorge Peña studies the uses and effects of interactive technologies the Virtual Interaction & Communication Technology (VICTR) lab at UC Davis. They employ empirical methods to understand how people think, feel, and communicate in virtual environments (e.g., video games, simulations). The VICTR LAB is interested in understanding how the design features of video games and virtual environments affect online and offline experiences, and how virtual experiences can be leveraged to improve our lives.
Dynamic Interactions in Cognition and Emotion lab (Narine Yegiyan)
Professor Narine Yegiyan studies how people process mediated messages under situations of emotional and cognitive overload in her Dynamic Interactions in Cognition and Emotion (D.I.C.E.) lab. She is specifically interested in how mediated message structure and emotional tone affect how people feel about the message and what they learn from it. Lab investigates advertisements, news stories, narratives, and other genres both in print, audio-visual as well as on-line forms. In DICE lab students can learn basics of audio-visual editing, methods of behavioral data collection using MediaLab software, and methods of psychophysiological data collection using Biopac tools.
Professor Bo Feng studies social interactions that occur in face-to-face or mediated settings. Her recent research focuses on supportive interactions in virtual communities, examining how people engage in the strategic seeking and provision of various forms of support (e.g., comforting, advice) and the complex individual and group level dynamics involved in the process. She works closely with undergraduate students, mentoring them on independent studies and honor’s theses. She also directs research teams that provide hands-on research experience to both graduate and undergraduate students.
Professor Laramie Taylor studies the way entertainment media use shapes and is shaped by social perceptions and relationships in the Media Involvement and Effects Laboratory. Undergraduate students in the lab participate in ongoing projects documenting patterns of media content and exploring the effects of that content. Each year, a few experienced seniors collaborate with Dr. Taylor to design and implement their own experiments, surveys and content analyses.