Rene Weber

Rene Weber
University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB · Department of Communication - Media Neuroscience Lab

Professor

About

144
Publications
77,629
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
3,170
Citations

Publications

Publications (144)
Article
Full-text available
The “replication crisis” in neuroscientific research has led to calls for improving reproducibility. In traditional neuroscience analyses, irreproducibility may occur as a result of issues across various stages of the methodological process. For example, different operating systems, different software packages, and even different versions of the sa...
Preprint
Successful media processing requires that an individual attend to relevant information embedded among numerous competing stimuli. In communication research, this process is often referred to as resource allocation. Although the factors that drive individuals to allocate resources toward or away from a single message are relatively well characterize...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the Hollywood film industry, racial minorities remain underrepresented. Characters from racially underrepresented groups receive less screen time, fewer central story positions, and frequently inherit plotlines, motivations, and actions that are primarily driven by White characters. Currently, there are no clearly defined, standardized, and scal...
Article
While there is substantial research on COVID-19’s general framing in the news, little is known about the antecedents and moderators of using moral language in communicating the disease to audiences. In this study, we rely on the Model of Intuitive Morality and Exemplars to explore how news media’s attention on COVID-19 and moralizing language in CO...
Article
Moral intuitions play a central role in communication processes, from the selection, valuation, and production of media content to political campaigning, opinion formation, and voting. The valid extraction of moral information from media content is a critical step toward understanding the dynamic transactions between moral frames and real-world eve...
Article
We herein discuss our commentary in light of Wang and Liu’s response and clarify our suggestions regarding their original content analysis. Revisiting the methodological decisions that impact the reliability and validity of moral content codings, we focus on the selection and separation of coding and context units, the importance of keeping the ann...
Article
Full-text available
In the last 10 years, many canonical findings in the social sciences appear unreliable. This so-called “replication crisis” has spurred calls for open science practices, which aim to increase the reproducibility, replicability, and generalizability of findings. Communication research is subject to many of the same challenges that have caused low re...
Article
The increasing adoption of brain imaging methods has greatly augmented our understanding of the neural underpinnings of communication processes. Enabled by recent advancements in mathematics and computational infrastructure, researchers have begun to move beyond traditional univariate analytic techniques in favor of methods that consider the brain...
Preprint
The increasing adoption of brain imaging methods has greatly augmented our understanding of the neural underpinnings of communication processes. Enabled by recent advancements in mathematics and computational infrastructure, researchers have begun to move beyond traditional univariate analytic techniques in favor of methods that consider the brain...
Article
Full-text available
Prevention neuroscience investigates the brain basis of attitude and behavior change. Over the years, an increasingly structurally and functionally resolved “persuasion network” has emerged. However, current studies have only identified a small handful of neural structures that are commonly recruited during persuasive message processing, and the ex...
Article
The limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing (LC4MP) is a model for understanding the dynamic interactions between mediated messages and the human information processing system. At the time of its original writing, the LC4MP was unique in the landscape of media psychology research in that it eschewed rote investigation of mes...
Article
Full-text available
Moral conflict is central to appealing narratives, but no methodology exists for computationally extracting moral conflict from narratives at scale. In this article, we present an approach combining tools from social network analysis and natural language processing with recent theoretical advancements in the Model of Intuitive Morality and Exemplar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Moral conflict is central to appealing narratives, but no methodology exists for computationally extracting moral conflict from narratives at scale. In this article, we present an approach combining tools from social network analysis and natural language processing with recent theoretical advancements in the Model of Intuitive Morality and Exemplar...
Article
Full-text available
Moral intuitions are a central motivator in human behavior. Recent work highlights the importance of moral intuitions for understanding a wide range of issues ranging from online radicalization to vaccine hesitancy. Extracting and analyzing moral content in messages, narratives, and other forms of public discourse is a critical step toward understa...
Preprint
Full-text available
Moral intuitions are a central motivator in human behavior. Recent work highlights the importance of moral intuitions for understanding a wide range of issues ranging from online radicalization to vaccine hesitancy. Extracting and analyzing moral content in messages, narratives, and other forms of public discourse is a critical step toward understa...
Article
A central goal of news research is to understand the interplay between news coverage and sociopolitical events. Although a great deal of work has elucidated how events drive news coverage, and how in turn news coverage influences societal outcomes, integrative systems-level models of the reciprocal interchanges between these two processes are spars...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP) is a prominent model for investigating how human biological systems engage with and process messages. Dr. Lang’s (this volume) chapter titled “How the LC4MP became the DHCCST: An epistemological fairy tale” provides an engaging overview of the foundation and development of...
Article
The effect of exposure to violent video game content on aggression is intensely debated. Meta-analyses have produced widely varying estimates as to the effect (or non-effect) of violent video games on subsequent aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Recent work suggests that interactivity and player skill may play key roles in moderating the effects o...
Article
We examined the interplay between how communication researchers use meta-analyses to make claims and the prevalence, causes, and implications of unresolved heterogeneous findings. Heterogeneous findings can result from substantive moderators, methodological artifacts, and combined construct invalidity. An informal content analysis of meta-analyses...
Article
Full-text available
Aggressive behavior in violent video games activates the reward system. However, this effect is closely related to game success. Aim of the present study was to investigate whether aggressive behavior has a rewarding value by itself. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was measured in fifteen right-handed males while playing the video game...
Chapter
Full-text available
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has contributed to significant advancements in our understanding of the brain and human behavior. Aided by recent theoretical and methodological advancements, fMRI has grown into a powerful tool for communication scholars to investigate how messages influence the brain. In this chapter, we review extant...
Article
Full-text available
The article “Central serotonin modulates neural responses to virtual violent actions in emotion regulation networks”, written by Dhana Wolf, Martin Klasen, Patrick Eisner, Florian D. Zepf, Mikhail Zvyagintsev, Nicola Palomero‑Gallagher, René Weber, Albrecht Eisert, Klaus Mathiak was originally published electronically on the publisher’s internet po...
Preprint
Digital media are sensory-rich, multimodal, and often highly interactive. An extensive collection of theories and models within the field of media psychology assume the multimodal nature of media stimuli, yet there is current ambiguity as to the independent contributions of visual and auditory content to message complexity and to resource availabili...
Article
Full-text available
Digital media are sensory-rich, multimodal, and often highly interactive. An extensive collection of theories and models within the field of media psychology assume the multimodal nature of media stimuli, yet there is current ambiguity as to the independent contributions of visual and auditory content to message complexity and to resource availabil...
Article
This article introduces the interface for communication research (iCoRe) to access, explore, and analyze the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT; Leetaru & Schrodt, 2013). GDELT provides a vast, open source, and continuously updated repository of online news and event metadata collected from tens of thousands of news outlets around...
Article
Computational Communication Research (CCR) is a new open access journal dedicated to publishing high quality computational research in communication science. This editorial introduction describes the role that we envision for the journal. First, we explain what computational communication science is and why a new journal is needed for this subfield...
Article
With video games representing a rapidly growing media platform, recent events have highlighted conflicts surrounding gender and games. Previous research has established sex-typed cognitive advantages and game genre preference. Potential explanations of how these align have been inconclusive. Concurrently, research on sex development has suggested t...
Preprint
Computational Communication Research (CCR) is a new open access journal dedicated to publishing high quality computational research in communication science. This editorial introduction describes the role that we envision for the journal. First, we explain what computational communication science is and why a new journal is needed for this subfield...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article introduces the interface for communication research (iCoRe) to access, explore, and analyze the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT; Leetaru & Schrodt, 2013). GDELT provides a vast, open source, and continuously updated repository of online news and event metadata collected from tens of thousands of news outlets around...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article introduces the interface for communication research (iCoRe) to access, explore, and analyze the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT; Leetaru & Schrodt, 2013). GDELT provides a vast, open source, and continuously updated repository of online news and event metadata collected from tens of thousands of news outlets around...
Conference Paper
Mounting evidence suggests that humans are equipped with a neural monitoring system that yields an intuitive pleasure response when socially normative (moral) behaviors are observed and displeasure when non-normative (immoral) behaviors are observed (Tooby et al., 2005). Moral Foundations Theory (Graham et al., 2013; Greene et al., 2001) indicates...
Article
Full-text available
Aggressive behavior is associated with dysfunctional frontolimbic emotion regulation circuits. Recent findings suggest serotonin as a primary transmitter for prefrontal amygdala control. However, the association between serotonin levels, amygdala regulation, and aggression is still a matter of debate. Neurobehavioral models furthermore suggest a po...
Conference Paper
The purpose of this study is to examine how news frames and events are intertwined in a reciprocal influence process. While communication scholarship has invested great efforts in how particular events such as terror attacks or protests are framed by news organizations, no research has examined how certain news frames following certain event types...
Article
Full-text available
Flow is characterized by a high level of intrinsic reward that results from a balance between task difficulty and individual ability. The Synchronization Theory of Flow offers an explanation for the neural basis of this process. It predicts an energetically-optimized, brain-network organization between cognitive control and reward regions when task...
Article
Full-text available
In a companion piece (Fisher, Keene, Huskey, & Weber, 2018), we reviewed the foundations and current state of the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP). In this manuscript we return to the three areas investigated in our review: cognitive load, motivation, and memory. In each domain, we: (a) outline areas in which...
Article
Full-text available
In the 15 years since its inception, the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP) has contributed to understanding regarding the dynamics of message processing in a variety of domains. In this manuscript we outline the foundations and assumptions of the LC4MP, discussing salient research from biology, cognitive psycho...
Article
Full-text available
Neuroscientific investigations into communication phenomena using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are becoming increasingly popular in communication science. This presents opportunities for new discoveries, but also for the rapid spread of questionable practices. Here, we look to the future of fMRI in communication science: first, high...
Article
Full-text available
Disruptions in the cortico-limbic emotion regulation networks have been linked to depression, anxiety, impulsivity, and aggression. Altered transmission of the central nervous serotonin (5-HT) contributes to dysfunctions in the cognitive control of emotions. To date, studies relating to pharmaco-fMRI challenging of the 5-HT system have focused on e...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive control is a framework for understanding the neuropsychological processes that underlie the successful completion of everyday tasks. Only recently has research in this area investigated motivational contributions to control allocation. An important gap in our understanding is the way in which intrinsic rewards associated with a task motiv...
Conference Paper
An increasing number of studies has been utilizing the Moral Foundations Dictionary (MFD; Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009) to extract moral information from textual data. Yet, the MFD inherits certain limitations such as ad hoc pre-selection and overlappings of word stems that limit its validity. In this paper, we introduce a crowd-sourced approach fo...
Data
Supporting Methods. Methodological detail, including mathematical and descriptive details for measures and statistical models (PDF File).
Conference Paper
Within the media psychology literature, a clear pattern has emerged wherein certain media use patterns, such as self-reported media multitasking, are associated with greater self-reported difficulty in task-switching, inhibition of irrelevant distractors, and reduced cognitive control. Interestingly, though, this relationship is not clearly support...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we introduce a novel method for analyzing entity framing in a large corpus of online news articles. This measure is proposed as a solution to the heretofore intractable problem of large-scale analysis of framing for particular entities within corpora too large to be reliably hand-coded and for which no document selection procedures h...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the dynamics of attention during continuous, naturalistic interactions in a video game. Specifically, the effect of repeated distraction on a continuous primary task is related to a functional model of network connectivity. We introduce the Nonlinear Attentional Saturation Hypothesis (NASH), which predicts that effective con...
Article
Full-text available
Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) and the Model of Intuitive Morality and Exemplars (MIME) contend that moral judgments are built on a universal set of basic moral intuitions. A large body of research has supported many of MFT’s and the MIME’s central hypotheses. Yet, an important prerequisite of this research—the ability to extract latent moral conte...
Article
In an effort to better understand the state of knowledge production in the field of Communication, we examine the results of 149 meta-analyses exploring human communication phenomena. The meta-analyses summarize more than 60 years of quantitative research involving more than 8 million participants. The mean effect estimate is r = .21, and three-qua...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we introduce the Moral Narrative Analyzer for Movies (MoNA-M), a web-based, hybrid content-analytical platform that combines automated and human content codings to extract moral content from popular film scripts. We present a computational pipeline that parses film scripts in both PDF, as well as text format, and subsequently extract...
Article
Full-text available
Storytelling is a universal activity, but the way in which discourse structure is used to persuasively convey ideas and emotions may depend on cultural factors. Because first-person accounts of life experiences can have a powerful impact in how a person is perceived, the storyteller may instinctively employ specific strategies to shape the audience...
Article
Full-text available
While a persuasion network has been proposed, little is known about how network connections between brain regions contribute to attitude change. Two possible mechanisms have been advanced. One hypothesis predicts that attitude change results from increased connectivity between structures implicated in affective and executive processing in response...
Article
Brain imaging techniques within communication research have rapidly expanded in popularity in recent years, driven by an increase in access to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology and by theoretical developments within the field. In this manuscript, we present an overview of research from within communication and cognate discipli...
Article
Full-text available
In disciplines such as moral psychology and media theory, investigations of moral clarity versus ambiguity in narratives are increasingly important. Untested mechanisms have been proposed for how moral clarity/ambiguity might affect audiences. Based on literature regarding joint action and coordinated experiences, we reason that morally clear narra...
Conference Paper
The study of media psychology is built on a long history of research conducted both by communication scholars and by those in related disciplines. Theories and models which are used in media psychology research are often informed by analyzing, dissembling, transporting, and reassembling concepts and understanding originally introduced in psychology...
Chapter
Full-text available
Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection has had a profound impact on scientific disciplines interested in animal psychology and behavior. Media scholars are increasingly turning to evolutionary theory in order to better understand how the human animal processes the media and is influenced by them. This entry introduces Darwin's f...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we introduce a novel, computational approach to the analysis of online news data using the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT; Leetaru & Schrodt, 2013), a vast, constantly updated repository of metadata collected from tens of thousands of news sources around the world. As this database has yet been untapped by commun...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we argue that it is time to move beyond mere descriptions of flow experiences. By systematically investigating the neuropsychological processes that give rise to flow states, we can advance our understanding of how media exposure contributes to flow (specifically) and well-being (more generally). Accordingly, the bulk of this chapt...
Article
Full-text available
Statements supported mostly by correlational and cross-sectional studies suggest that playing violent video games can cause emotional desensitization. A longitudinal experiment examined (a) whether repeated violent game play leads to emotional desensitization and (b) whether desensitization generalizes to other play and real-life experiences. Parti...
Article
In violent video games, players engage in virtual aggressive behaviors. Exposure to virtual aggressive behavior induces short-term changes in players' behavior. In a previous study, a violence-related version of the racing game "Carmageddon TDR2000" increased aggressive affects, cognitions, and behaviors compared to its non-violence-related version...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, video game addiction has received considerable empirical attention. Unfortunately, this research is stymied by inconsistencies in both conceptual and operational definitions of video game addiction. Moreover, the use of several video game addiction scales makes it difficult to estimate the prevalence and potential effects of video...
Article
The use of structural equation modeling (SEM) in communication research has become increasingly popular in recent years, with SEM being commonly used as the primary method of data analysis in studies published within the field’s journals. However, despite its widespread use, there are persistent misapplications of SEM in published empirical studies...
Article
Media Psychology is emerging as a transdisciplinary research field. Scholars from psychology, communication, pedagogy, computer science, and other disciplines aim for a deeper understanding of why and how people use media and of how today's media landscape influences the human mind and our social lives. While scholars in other sub-fields of psychol...
Chapter
Full-text available
The chapter conceptualizes the customization and creation of game content as a particularly creative dimension of video game interactivity. It describes how game customization and co-creation of video game content contribute to entertainment experiences.
Article
Full-text available
Media neuroscience has emerged as a new area of study at the intersection of media psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In previous work, we have addressed this trend from a methodological perspective. In this paper, we outline the progression of scholarship in systematic investigations of mass communication phenomena over the past century, from...
Article
Buyers in search of new neuromarketing methods that potentially can predict advertising effectiveness face a daunting process. Vendors in this evolving industry offer a confusing range of often proprietary differences in methodology. The authors of the current article analyzed results from 'Neuro 1'—the Advertising Research Foundation's first neuro...
Chapter
Mangus, J. M., Adams, A., & Weber, R. (2015). Media neuroscience. In R. A. Scott & S. M. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0213 Media neuroscience offers a unique window into how the complexities of human behavior emerge from the dynamic interact...
Article
Full-text available
Core communication research questions are increasingly being investigated using brain imaging techniques. A majority of these studies apply a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach. This trend raises two important questions that we address in this article. First, under what conditions can fMRI methodology increase knowledge and refin...
Article
Full-text available
Past research on consequences of video game play have conflated two distinct psychological mechanisms, habituation and generalization, into a unified process dubbed “desensitization.” The current paper reports the results of two studies, a repeated exposure study and a single exposure study, which examine habituation and generalization of biophysio...
Article
A substantial amount of research has focused on predicting the effectiveness of persuasive messages. However, characteristics of both the message itself and its receiver can impact theoretically predicted effects. For example, recent work published in this journal demonstrated that issue involvement modulates the relationship between message sensat...
Chapter
Full-text available
To date, much of the literature related to video games theorizes and tests functional and motivational explanations for why people choose to play video games. An alternative perspective treats play as an evolutionary adaptation designed to motivate individuals to practice survival relevant behaviors in low-cost contexts. While both perspectives are...
Article
Video games are a popular form of new media, and their use is impacting multiple fields of study within the communication discipline. For instance, research programs in mass communication, health, instructional, feminist/gender, interpersonal, and intercultural communication have all examined video games. Interactivity is the hallmark of video game...