The science of how communication technology shapes our social lives


Nicholas David Bowman, PhD

Dr. Bowman’s academic interests are concerned with understanding how communication technology has changed the way we share and respond to mass information. As our social world becomes increasingly mediated and virtual, he studies how media users respond cognitively and emotionally to mediation as well as if and how they differentiate between the real and virtual worlds. An avid entertainment technology fan, Bowman is particularly interested in understanding the popularity of video games not only as a leisure activity, but as a place for community discourse, a training ground for human interaction, and a space for observational and experiential learning. Additionally, as a former journalist he studies how communication technology has influenced the speed, accuracy, and utility of news information for today’s multimedia audiences. Dr. Bowman’s research has been published in Journal of CommunicationJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and CyberPsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. At WVU, Dr. Bowman also oversees the Media and Interaction Lab and maintains an active research blog “On Media Theory….” and he can be found on Twitter at @bowmanspartan. He also prefers to go by “Nick” – unless he’s in trouble (which he doesn’t prefer at all).

Elizabeth Cohen, PhD

Dr. Cohen studies the “the bright side” of media uses and effects, or the prosocial consequences of involvement with different types of media. Her research is animated by questions about how cognitive and emotional responses to media content motivate individuals to improve themselves, help other people or the environment, or become civically engaged. She is particularly interested in how people respond to prosocial messages that are embedded in entertainment media content. I also examine content and relational factors that encourage people to disseminate prosocial messages using social media. Some topics I study include narrative persuasion, attachments to media figures, and online content sharing.

Alan Goodboy, PhD

Dr. Goodboy’s research focuses primarily on instructor-student communication and influence. Favoring experimental and survey designs, his most current research examines instructional dissent in the college classroom. This research explores why and how students express their disagreements and complaints about class-related issues. Other instructional research has focused on student communication satisfaction, instructor misbehaviors, and transformational leadership in the classroom. His secondary area of research examines relational maintenance in a variety of contexts.

Matthew Martin, PhD

Dr. Matthew M. Martin joined the Communication Studies faculty at WVU in 1994. He has been chair of the department since 2001. Dr. Martin’s research focuses primarily on the study of communication traits using quantitative methodologies. His research interests center on the study of traits involving communication competence (e.g., cognitive flexibility) and aggressive communication (e.g., verbal aggression). A secondary area of research involves studying people’s motives for communicating with others. His recent research has focused on why students communicate with their instructors, both in and out of the classroom. Other instructional studies have focused on instructor self-disclosure, instructor clarity, and student interest.

David Westerman, PhD

With interests in communication and technology, Dr. Westerman’s research focuses on how technology is used to accomplish communication goals, be they “mass” or “interpersonal.” This research has focused on how people form impressions, such as uncertainty and source credibility, through the use of information provided through electronic channels. Other research examines the concept of presence, and how it can be fostered, and with what effects. In his classes, Dr. Westerman focuses on how media can be used, examining both the challenges and affordances that technology offers. Dr. Westerman has had his work published in outlets such as Human Communication ResearchJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Computers in Human Behavior.