Jim Blascovich

Jim Blascovich
University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB · Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Ph.D.

About

183
Publications
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Publications

Publications (183)
Chapter
In the 1990s, the term “virtual reality” brought to mind futuristic scenarios based on sci-fi fantasies popularized in books such as Gibson’s (1984) Neuromancer and movies such as the Wachowski brothers’ The Matrix. These media classics pointed to and perhaps raised expectations for digital three-dimensional sensory displays rendered by some comple...
Article
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Research on awe has grown exponentially in recent decades; however, few studies have considered whether awe-inspiring experiences also inspire other emotions. In two studies, we explored whether interventions targeting awe also evoke other discrete emotions. Additionally, we considered two constructs that may be associated with increases in each em...
Article
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MEAP, the moving ensemble analysis pipeline, is a new open-source tool designed to perform multisubject preprocessing and analysis of cardiovascular data, including electrocardiogram (ECG), impedance cardiogram (ICG), and continuous blood pressure (BP). In addition to traditional ensemble averaging, MEAP implements a moving ensemble averaging metho...
Article
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Sustained, direct eye-gaze—staring—is a powerful cue that elicits strong responses in many primate and non-primate species. The present research examined whether fleeting experiences of high and low power alter individuals’ spontaneous responses to the staring gaze of an onlooker. We report two experimental studies showing that sustained, direct ga...
Article
OBJECTIVE: Exercise videogames are increasingly popular as individuals seek to increase their activity. This study assessed the interaction of exercise self-efficacy (ESE) levels and perceived task demands of a virtual game on exercise and physiological reactions. Perceived task demands were manipulated by changing parameters of the participant's a...
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Immersion in a digital virtual environment (DVE) increases the likelihood that individuals will feel present in the DVE and hence respond as they would in a similar physically grounded environment. Previous research utilizing high-fidelity technology has demonstrated that by starting a virtual experience in a virtual replica of the immediate physic...
Article
Applying Attachment Theory, research on confirmation, the Entropy Model of Uncertainty, and the Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat, this investigation examined the role of mothers' communication on adolescents' cardiovascular response to threat. An experimental design allowed for the manipulation of maternal response to daughters experie...
Chapter
As computer processing increases in power and affordability, more and more research has surfaced addressing the influence of digital avatars, agents, and virtual environments on user behavior. This chapter reviews the fundamentals of digital virtual environments and the applications for exercise, eating, and diabetes interventions in presenting use...
Chapter
The past 40 years have witnessed rapid growth in the study of sexual orientation and identity. Within psychology, this has been accompanied by an ever-growing number of measures designed to assess sexual orientation related constructs. This chapter reviews the most recent and widely employed self-report instruments. These measures diversely assess...
Article
This article focuses on how familiarity moderates task engagement. Blascovich et al. (1993) have demonstrated that task familiarity generally evokes challenge motivation; that is, the experience of having sufficient resources to meet task demands. Garcia-Marques, Mackie, Claypool, and Garcia-Marques (2013) have demonstrated that individuals attend...
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Although exercise is recommended by healthcare professionals for nearly everyone, adverse reactions can occur following exercising for some overweight individuals. The reported study investigated the cardiovascular consequences of exercise in a stressful environment. In all, 60 females completed two baseline and one biking (i.e. ergometer) periods...
Research
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Poster displaying preliminary results of a pilot study using a virtual solar system in a desk-top environment to teach basic Earth-Moon-Sun dynamics.Research questions: 1.Does navigating in a virtual solar system improve learners’ spatial comprehension in astronomy, compared to a reference group who experienced only traditional, lecture-based instr...
Article
While simultaneous acquisition of electrocardiography (ECG) data during MRI is a widely used clinical technique, the effects of the MRI environment on impedance cardiography (ICG) data have not been characterized. We collected echo planar MRI scans while simultaneously recording ECG and thoracic impedance using carbon fiber electrodes and customize...
Article
Advances in virtual environment technology, particularly digital immersive virtual environment technology, enable people to engage in increasingly compelling experiences. Such technology not only has entertainment value but also provides a powerful research platform for behavioral scientists and clinicians. Although many immersive virtual environme...
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Innovative interventions that empower patients in diabetes self-management (DSM) are needed to provide accessible, sustainable, cost-effective patient education and support that surpass current noninteractive interventions. Skills acquired in digital virtual environments (VEs) affect behaviors in the physical world. Some VEs are programmed as real-...
Article
Due to its high prevalence, chronic nature, potential complications, and self-management challenges for patients, diabetes presents significant health education and support issues. We developed and pilot-tested a virtual community for adults with type 2 diabetes to promote self-management education and provide social support. Although digital-based...
Article
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Previous work has noted that science stands as an ideological force insofar as the answers it offers to a variety of fundamental questions and concerns; as such, those who pursue scientific inquiry have been shown to be concerned with the moral and social ramifications of their scientific endeavors. No studies to date have directly investigated the...
Chapter
How do we know when people are immersed in virtual reality? Can such immersion be assessed implicitly? This chapter explores the integration of two independently developed theoretical models relevant to social interaction within digital immersive virtual environments. The Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat, a motivational model based on...
Article
Two studies examined the effect of financial incentives on empathic accuracy and a possible underlying mechanism. In Study 1, participants either received a financial incentive based on performance on an empathic accuracy task (i.e., monetary reward for accurate inferences regarding the emotions experienced by videotaped targets) or not. Those in t...
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Although much research has investigated the consequences of working with teammates, little research has addressed the effect of team processes on changes in motivational states and associated cardiovascular responses. Filling this gap, we utilized the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat to examine the effect of teammate performance on eva...
Article
Five experiments explored the hypothesis that thinking about one's own death activates thoughts about enjoying one's life as moderated by culture. Given that Eastern cultures, relative to Western ones, are more holistic and endorse notions of "yin and yang" (e.g., where "good" and "bad" coexist in all things), we hypothesized that East Asians would...
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The study of in-group deviance has typically measured cognitive or behavioral variables rather than motivational variables. The present research addressed this gap in the literature by using the biopsychosocial (BPS) model of challenge and threat, while testing predictions stemming from the subjective group dynamics (SGD) model. Group members parti...
Article
Three studies examined cross-cultural differences in empathic accuracy (the ability to correctly infer another's emotional experience) within the context of different relationships. East-West cultural differences in self-construal were hypothesized to differentiate levels of empathic accuracy across relationship types. In contrast to the independen...
Article
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Distributed virtual environments (DVEs) are becoming very popular in recent years, due to the rapid growing of applications, such as massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs). As the number of concurrent users increases, scalability becomes one of the ...
Article
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Arguably, the concept that is referred to today as “virtual reality” is as old as humanity itself. Humans seem particularly predisposed to psychological travel between physical and virtual reality and have invented many ingenious ways technologies to do so. The latest advance is immersive VR technology, which allows face-to-face social interaction...
Article
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This research investigated cross-cultural differences in the accuracy of individuals' perceptions of internal visceral states. We conducted 4 studies to test the hypothesis that Asians are less sensitive to internal physiological cues relative to European Americans. Studies 1 and 2 assessed cultural differences in visceral perception via tests of m...
Article
When individuals are faced with novel or threatening situations, the presence of a trusted companion should reduce anxiety and promote feelings of security. Attachment theory assumes, however, that mere presence is not sufficient for establishing security; an attachment figure must also be attentive and emotionally responsive. To test this idea, pa...
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It has long been argued that attitudes prepare the body to act. While early evidence suggested that evaluations (positive or negative) are rigidly linked to specific motor behaviors (approach or avoidant), recent behavioral evidence suggests that this linkage is context dependent. Here, we report that the neural circuitry mediating the relationship...
Conference Paper
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We study whether a virtual agent that delivers humor through verbal behavior can affect an individual's proxemic behavior towards the agent. Participants interacted with a virtual agent through natural language and, in a separate task, performed an embodied interpersonal interaction task in a virtual environment. The study used minimum distance as...
Article
Two experiments compared the effects of death thoughts, or mortality salience, on European and Asian Americans. Research on terror management theory has demonstrated that in Western cultural groups, individuals typically employ self-protective strategies in the face of death-related thoughts. Given fundamental East-West differences in self-construa...
Article
Within three years, many online interactions will not simply involve passages of text typed on a keyboard but will instead be rich exchanges involving sophisticated representations of ourselves. Those digital beings are called avatars, and today at least half a billion people around the world are routinely socializing through them over the Internet...
Article
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This research examined the ways in which superior teammate performance in recently formed teams affects an individual’s motivation. It was hypothesized that members of recently formed teams for whom social identity was not yet salient would experience threat, a maladaptive physiological pattern that indicates low perceptions of coping resources rel...
Conference Paper
The goal here was to determine whether computer interfaces are capable of social influence via humor. Users interacted with a natural language capable virtual agent that told persuasive information, and they were given the option to use information from the dialogue in order to complete a problem-solving task. Individuals interacting with an ostens...
Chapter
A decade of study and research using digital virtual reality technology has led to several propositions that bear on the interplay among consciousness, free will, and virtual reality. Conscious and unconscious transportation, media and communication, and escaping the current situation are discussed in relation to consciousness and virtual reality r...
Article
The factors that predict academic performance are of substantial importance yet are not understood fully. This study examined the relationship between cardiovascular markers of challenge/threat motivation and university course performance. Before the first course exam, participants gave speeches on academics-relevant topics while their cardiovascul...
Article
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This article reviews theory and research relevant to the development of digital immersive virtual environment-based instructional computing systems. The review is organized within the context of a multidimensional model of social influence and interaction within virtual environments that models the interaction of four theoretical factors: theory of...
Article
This research examines female leaders' responses to the gender–leader stereotype and the role of leadership self-efficacy in these responses. Using the biopsychosocial model of threat and challenge, this laboratory experiment examined women's cardiovascular, behavioral (i.e., performance), and self-report responses to the negative female leader ste...
Article
Mimicry and prosocial feelings are generally thought to be positively related. However, the conditions under which mimicry and liking are related largely remain unspecified. We advance this specification by examining the relationship between mimicry and liking more thoroughly. In two experiments, we manipulated an individual's a priori liking for a...
Article
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Immersive collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) allow us to interact with geo- graphically distant others while experiencing social presence to a degree that goes far beyond text chatting or teleconferencing. Moreover, these environments provide this high level of realism within social contexts that are impossible in the physical world. Given t...
Article
Over the last decade, researchers have begun using immersive virtual environment technology (IVET; commonly known as virtual reality) to create digital experimental virtual environments (DEVEs) to investigate social psychological processes. Researchers increasingly recognize that IVET provides powerful and cost-effective ways to manipulate theoreti...
Article
Little is known regarding the covariance between physiological and nonverbal responses to “stressful” situations. We argue that physiological markers are especially likely to be accompanied by psychologically-meaningful nonverbal behavior. Within “stressful” motivated performance situations, complex patterns of cardiovascular (CV) reactivity mark c...
Article
Previous findings support that cardiovascular markers of challenge/threat reflect one's relative balance of resource versus demand evaluations during task performance. We report a novel investigation of the effects of performance outcome framing (potential for gain vs. loss) on these cardiovascular markers. Before completing a test, participants le...
Article
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Health professionals need to be able to communicate information about genomic susceptibility in understandable and usable ways, but substantial challenges are involved. We developed four learning modules that varied along two factors: (1) learning mode (active learning vs. didactic learning) and (2) metaphor (risk elevator vs. bridge) and tested th...
Article
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Presence in virtual learning environments (VLEs) has been associated with a number of outcome factors related to a user's ability and motivation to learn. The extant but relatively small body of research suggests that a high level of presence is related to better performance on learning outcomes in VLEs. Different configurations of form and content...
Article
Applying genetic susceptibility information to improve health will likely require educating patients about abstract concepts, for which there is little existing research. This experimental study examined the effect of learning mode on comprehension of a genomic concept. 156 individuals aged 18-40 without specialized knowledge were randomly assigned...
Article
This study investigated the relationship between participant proxemic behavior and overt aggression during interactions with Black and White agents in an immersive virtual environment. In a series of two tasks, participants first interacted with two male agents (each of the same race) and then engaged in a violent shooting game with those agents. P...
Article
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The sharing of bodily states elicits in mimicker and mimickee corresponding conceptualisations, which facilitates liking. There are many studies showing the relatedness of mimicry and liking. However, the mimicry-liking link has not been investigated under conditions in which the mimickee is liked or disliked a priori. In two studies, we examined m...
Article
This experiment varied whether individuals interacted with virtual representations of themselves or of others in an immersive virtual environment. In the self-representation condition, half of the participants interacted with a self-representation that bore photographic resemblance to them, whereas the other half interacted with a self-representati...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated that defensive pessimists perform best when allowed to think about negative outcomes prior to performance. Two competing hypotheses could account for this phenomenon: negative states dissipate or are harnessed. Existing findings have not directly tested defensive pessimists’ experience during performance, which is...
Article
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As virtual environments (VEs) become increasingly central to people's lives (Terry, 2002), understanding reactions to VEs may be as important as understanding behavior in the real world (Yee, Bailenson, Urbanek, Chang, & Merget, 2007). Immersive Virtual Environment Technology (IVET), which is now being used in psychological research (Blascovich et...
Article
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The current study investigated the value of using immersive virtual environment technology as a tool for assessing eyewitness identification. Participants witnessed a staged crime and then examined sequential lineups within immersive virtual environments that contained three- dimensional, virtual busts of the suspect and six distractors. Participan...
Article
The effect of gender stereotype activation on challenge/threat motivational states was examined. Male and female participants completed a difficult math test described as either gender-biased or gender-fair, while continuous cardiovascular data were recorded. During the math test, women in the gender-biased condition exhibited a threatened motivati...
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The authors examined White and Black participants' emotional, physiological, and behavioral responses to same-race or different-race evaluators, following rejecting social feedback or accepting social feedback. As expected, in ingroup interactions, the authors observed deleterious responses to social rejection and benign responses to social accepta...
Article
This article illustrates the utility of using virtual environments to transform social interaction via behavior and context, with the goal of improving learning in digital environments. We first describe the technology and theories behind virtual environments and then report data from 4 empirical studies. In Experiment 1, we demonstrated that teach...
Article
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Immersive virtual environment technology (IVET) allows developers to create simulated environments that can engage users in context relevant behaviors and that can produce relatively intense user experiences for purposes such as entertainment (e.g., video games), phobia desensitization, and training. We predicted that playing a violent video game u...
Article
In this chapter, I have discussed motivation in terms of a challenge and threat model. Although challenge-threat motivation theory can probably be used to develop interventions to motivate individuals to lead healthy lifestyles, the focus here is on the health consequences, direct and indirect, of challenge and threat motivational states themselves...
Article
Two experiments assessed the self-protective and undermining effects of attributional ambiguity. Both studies utilized immersive virtual environment technology to achieve otherwise difficult manipulations of stigma. In Experiment 1, White and Latino participants were either stigmatized (represented as Latino) or not (represented as White) and given...
Article
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The role of leadership efficacy in women's reactance responses to stereotype-based leadership role expectations was examined in two laboratory studies. Participants, selected on the basis of leadership efficacy scores, served as leaders of ostensible three-person groups. Half were primed with the gender leadership stereotype. An immersive virtual e...
Article
An experiment focused on the effects of platform (desktop computer, immersive virtual environment; IVE), content (violent, nonviolent), and player gender on video game play outcomes. Results revealed an interaction such that participants reported higher levels of aggressive feelings when playing a violent video game in an IVE compared to violent ga...
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Individuals who violate expectations increase uncertainty during social interactions. Three experiments explored whether expectancy-violating partners engender "threat" responses in perceivers. Participants interacted with confederates who violated or confirmed expectations while multiple measures were assessed, including cardiovascular reactivity,...
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Two studies examined whether participant attitudes would change toward positions advocated by an ingroup member even if the latter was known to be an embodied agent; that is, a human-like representation of a computer algorithm. While immersed in a virtual environment, participants listened to a persuasive com-munication from a digital representatio...
Article
This article examines the possibilities and implications of employing virtual environments (VEs), immersive virtual environments (IVEs), and collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) in the courtroom. We argue that the immersive and interactive reality created by these tools adds significant value as a simulation of experience to enhance courtroom...
Article
Immersive collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) are simulations in which geographically separated individuals interact in a shared, three-dimensional, digital space using immersive virtual environment technology. Unlike videoconference technology, which transmits direct video streams, immersive CVEs accurately track movements of interactants an...
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Anthropological, sociological, and psychological theories suggest that religious symbols should influence motivational processes during performance of goal-relevant tasks. In two experiments, positive and negative religious (Christian) symbols were presented outside of participants' conscious awareness. These symbols influenced cardiovascular respo...
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The current study examined how assessments of copresence in an immersive vir- tual environment are influenced by variations in how much an embodied agent re- sembles a human being in appearance and behavior. We measured the extent to which virtual representations were both perceived and treated as if they were hu- man via self-report, behavioral, a...
Article
This study examined the relationship between pre-performance motivational states (challenge vs. threat) and subsequent performance in athletic competition. Prior to the season, college baseball and softball players imagined and gave a speech about a specific baseball/softball playing situation while cardiovascular indexes of challenge and threat we...
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Computer-mediated communication systems known as collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) allow geographically separated individuals to interact verbally and nonverbally in a shared virtual space in real time. We discuss a CVE-based research paradigm that transforms (i.e., filters and modifies) nonverbal behaviors during social interaction. Becaus...
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We examined the effectiveness of using 3D, visual, digital representations of human heads and faces (i.e., virtual busts) for person identification. In a series of 11