About Me

I am currently an Assistant Professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

I am a recipient of the 2021 Social Science and Humanities Research Fellowship awarded by the Ministry of Education Singapore. I was the inaugural Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow in 2014 and spent two years in Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab in the Department of Communication.

I study the effects of communication and media technologies on human behavior and psychology, with a keen interest in the use of virtual and augmented reality technologies as an emerging tool for digital interventions, especially in the areas of physical health, empathy, mental/social wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour.

I am also interested in the impact of virtual communication tools and technology (e.g. videoconferencing) on society and seek to understand potential solutions to alleviate their negative influences while exploring opportunities to use them for positive outcomes.

Other research interests include multimodal sensory experiences in mixed reality, the use of head and eye tracking in communication technology and human-computer interaction.

I have collaborated with several institutions, including the Stanford Prevention Research Center (USA), the Ministry of Health (Singapore), the Health Promotion Board (Singapore), and the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Singapore) in the development and testing of digital health interventions. My work has been published in journals such as New Media and Society, Computers in Human Behavior, Frontiers in Psychology and Media Psychology.

Current Projects

Fostering empathy for older adults among young Singaporeans using virtual reality: Employing embodied perspective taking via construal level theory

– Social Science and Humanities Research Fellowship S$877,552 (PI)

Fostering more positive attitudes towards seniors among young people is essential in promoting a more inclusive society. VR may be a plausible way to reduce perceived outgroup threat and foster positive attitudes towards seniors among the young. In this project I propose and test a theoretical model of fostering more positive outgroup attitudes based on construal level theory and augmented by social identity perspectives.

Information fatigue among online information seekers: Defining it and exploring its impact

– MOE AcRF Tier 1 Grant S$86,670 (PI)

While greater amounts of information can aid in staying updated and help to reduce uncertainty, there have been increasing concerns of a phenomenon known as information fatigue (IF), where individuals find themselves in a state of weariness from persistent and excessive exposure to information. This project seeks to understand the conceptual dimensions of IF, the factors that lead to it, and the extent and impact of IF on online information seekers.

Strengthening the social fabric of Singapore through the use of VR technologies

– DSO National Laboratories TL Grant S$321,310 (PI)

This project aims to examine the societal faultlines in Singapore and test theory-based virtual reality interventions to help address potential negative consequences. In doing so, the proposed research aims to contribute to strengthening the social fabric of Singapore by guarding against societal divides. A VR-based intervention that promotes empathy and understanding towards outgroup others is being developed and tested.

Understanding videoconference fatigue among students

– MOE AcRF Tier 1 Grant S$88,838 (PI)

While videoconferencing has allowed for learning to continue in a virtual space without the need for face-to-face interaction, there have been increasing reports of individuals affected by a phenomenon known as videoconference fatigue (VF). This project seeks to understand what VF is, the extent to which students are affected, and to explore potential solutions. To achieve the aims, the project will tap on the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative approaches through a series of interviews, surveys and experiments.

Using VR to promote plastic recycling attitudes and behaviours

– NTU 5th Ace Grant S$120,000 (Co-PI)

This project explores the potential of VR technologies to bring about positive attitudes and behaviors among secondary school students towards plastic use and recycling. The primary objective is to gain an empirical understanding of how we can create awareness and encourage plastic waste recycling behaviour among youths in Singapore by exploring the impact of an interactive, gamified VR experience on plastic recycling behaviour. An immersive virtual environment is being developed where students interact with objects in VR, make decisions to save the Earth, and learn more about the benefits of recycling.

Vaccine communication and messaging: Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

– National Medical Research Council S$987,000 (Co-PI)

The fundamental facet of vaccine communication is to ensure that health messaging educates and engages with the public to understand the (low) risks and benefits of vaccination. This not only requires strategic deployment of health communication but also the containment of negative (mis)information surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. To this end, this research programme aims to answer four sets of interrelated questions to better understand public perception about vaccination.

Teaching

Students learning about the impact of VR in CS4267 Effects of VR Technologies

My experience and passion in teaching is demonstrated in two areas: communication research methods and new media influence on individuals and society.

I love teaching students how to conduct good and sound empirical research, by understanding the different research methods available at their disposal, and applying them through meaningful and impactful research.

I also enjoy teaching students to critically analyze the impact of new media technologies on individuals and society, using theoretical perspectives to make sense of technology’s place and value in their lives.

I am particularly excited to educate students on the influence of mixed reality technologies such as VR and AR, their uses and abuses as an emerging media, and how to effectively use these tools to create engaging content, such as 360-degree storytelling content and journalism pieces.

Courses taught:

CS2008Fundamentals of Research
CS2057Media Effects
CS4037Audience Research Methods
CS4042Advanced Research Methods
CS4092New Media and Society
CS4267Effects of VR Technologies
CS4320Immersive Journalism

Selected Publications

From frequency to fatigue: Exploring the influence of videoconference use on videoconference fatigue in Singapore

Li, B. J., Lee, E. W. J., Goh, Z. H. & Tandoc, E., Jr. (2022). From frequency to fatigue: Exploring the influence of videoconference use on videoconference fatigue in Singapore. Computers in Human Behavior Reports. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chbr.2022.100214

Understanding videoconference fatigue: a systematic review of dimensions, antecedents and theories

Li, B. J., & Yee, A. Z. H. (2022). Understanding videoconference fatigue: a systematic review of dimensions, antecedents and theories. Internet Research. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2021-0499

Emotional Personalization in Immersive Journalism: Exploring the Influence of Emotional Testimonies and Modality on Emotional Valence, Presence, Empathy, and Recall

Li, B. J., & Lee, H. M. (2022). Emotional Personalization in Immersive Journalism: Exploring the Influence of Emotional Testimonies and Modality on Emotional Valence, Presence, Empathy, and Recall. PRESENCE: Virtual and Augmented Reality, 28, 281-292. https://doi.org/10.1162/pres_a_00352

Virtual game Changers: how avatars and virtual coaches influence exergame outcomes through enactive and vicarious learning

Li, B. J., Ratan, R., & Lwin, M. O. (2022). Virtual game Changers: how avatars and virtual coaches influence exergame outcomes through enactive and vicarious learning. Behaviour & Information Technology, 41(7), 1529-1543. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2021.1884290

Experiencing organ failure in virtual reality: Effects of self- versus other-embodied perspective taking on empathy and prosocial outcomes

Li, B. J., & Kim, H. K. (2021). Experiencing organ failure in virtual reality: Effects of self- versus other-embodied perspective taking on empathy and prosocial outcomes. New Media and Society, 23(8), 2144-2166. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444821993122

Exploring the heart rate as a chronemic cue in virtual settings: How perceptions of consistent and varied heart rates of a storyteller influence self-reported other-arousal, empathy and social presence

Li, B. J., Bailenson, J. N., Ogle, E., & Zaki, J. (2020). Exploring the heart rate as a chronemic cue in virtual settings: How perceptions of consistent and varied heart rates of a storyteller influence self-reported other-arousal, empathy and social presence. Media Psychology, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2020.1788394

Digital embodiment and improving health outcomes: Healthy avatars make for healthy people

Peña, J., Li, B. J., & Ratan, R. (2020). Digital embodiment and improving health outcomes: Healthy avatars make for healthy people. In Technology and Health (pp. 27-47). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-816958-2.00002-2

Avatar characteristics induce users’ behavioral conformity with small-to-medium effect sizes: a meta-analysis of the proteus effect

Ratan, R., Beyea, D., Li, B. J., & Graciano, L. (2019). Avatar characteristics induce users’ behavioral conformity with small-to-medium effect sizes: a meta-analysis of the proteus effect. Media Psychology, 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2019.1623698

Effects of Message Completeness and Source Expertise in Online Health Discussion Boards

Poorisat, T., Detenber, B. H., Boster, F. J., & Li, B. J. (2019). Effects of Message Completeness and Source Expertise in Online Health Discussion Boards. International Journal of Communication, 13, 465-488. https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/7234

Li, B. J., & Bailenson, J. N. (2018). Exploring the Influence of Haptic and Olfactory Cues of a Virtual Donut on Satiation and Eating Behavior. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 26(03), 337-354.

Li, B. J., Bailenson, N. J., Pines, A., Greenleaf, W. J., & Williams, L. M. (2017). A Public Database of Immersive VR Videos with Corresponding Ratings of Arousal, Valence, and Correlations between Head Movements and Self Report Measures. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2116.

Oh, S. Y., Bailenson, J., Krämer, N., & Li, B. J. (2016). Let the Avatar Brighten Your Smile: Effects of Enhancing Facial Expressions in Virtual Environments. PloS ONE, 11(9).

Shin, W. & Li, B. J. (2016). Parental mediation of children’s digital technology in Singapore. Journal of Children and Media, 1-19.

Li, B. J., & Lwin, M. O. (2016). Player see, player do: Testing an exergame motivation model based on the influence of the self avatar. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 350-357.

Li, B. J., Lwin, M. O., & Jung, Y. (2014). Wii, Myself, and Size: The Influence of Proteus Effect and Stereotype Threat on Overweight Children’s Exercise Motivation and Behavior in Exergames​. Games for Health Journal, 3(1), 40-48.

Lwin, M., Li, B. J., & Williams, J. D. (2013). Childhood Obesity and Exergames: Assessments and Experiences from Singapore. In J. D. Williams, K. E. Pasch & C. A. Collins (Eds.), Advances in Communication Research to Reduce Childhood Obesity (pp. 495-508): Springer New York.

Lwin, M., Li, B. J., & Ang, R. (2012). Stop Bugging Me: An Examination of Adolescents’ Protection Behavior Against Online Harassment. Journal of Adolescence, 35(1), 31-41.

Service

Students

Heng Zhang, PhD from Interdisciplinary Graduate Programme

Heng is a PhD student from the Interdisciplinary Graduate Programme, at Nanyang Technological University. He holds an M.A. in Communication and Education from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Mass Media, with minor in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interest mainly lies in the intersection of video games, mass media, and education. Before coming to NTU, he received interdisciplinary training in Mass Media and Education. In this program, he focuses on using video games and virtual technologies to develop positive social relationship, e.g. fostering prosocial behavior for people, parent-child relationship.

Yujia Yang, PhD in Information Studies

Yujia is a Ph.D. student in Information Studies at WKWSCI, Nanyang Technological University. She holds an M.S. in Information from the University of Michigan, and a B.Sc. in Communication, with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Macau. Her research interest is in social media, especially on the effect of video conferencing tools on relationships.

Malviya Shruti, Masters in Communication Research

Shruti is a Masters student at the WKW School of Communication and Information. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree of Mass Communication & Journalism from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Her research interests are in organizational communication, specifically in how organizational processes influence productivity. She is studying the impact of videoconference fatigue on employee productivity.

CV

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