I am fascinated by the possibilities of interactive media, the experiences they provide, and the way they shape our everyday lives. Over the last years, I have investigated this field as a junior researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Media Research at Chemnitz University of Technology from the perspective of media psychology. With a focus on virtual environments, I am interested in the ways users perceive, interact with, and are shaped by virtual encounters. Perhaps surprisingly, users often fail to acknowledge the mediated nature of their virtual experiences – a phenomenon known as “presence“. Much of my research focuses on this phenomenon to understand how it emerges and at which points during virtual encounters it ends (so-call “breaks in presence”). It is also closely related to the ways we interact with virtual environments. Modern consumer VR hardware provides natural user interfaces that allow users to use natural motion to interact with the virtual environment. Although this may sound like the future of all human-computer interaction, the story is not quite that simple. While some VR applications greatly benefit from this technology, it may be unsuited for many others and even render the interaction less natural. Understanding the potential of NUIs to facilitate the user experience has been another big part of my research on VR.
Other fields of my research interests include media effects (aggression, prosocial behavior), emotion theory and facial expressions, evolutionary psychology and media use, as well as research methods (behavioral measures, psychophysiology).
When I am not doing research, you will probably find me wandering the landscape looking for interesting new photography compositions, riding through the woods on my mountain bike, tinkering with electronics on my workbench, or making some noise with a guitar … there is just so much, you can do!