Ninth Brown Bag of the Semester – April 18, 2014

Daphna Yeshua-Katz, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

A Study of the Pro-anorexia Community

Abstract: Media scholars often employ concepts from Goffman’s dramaturgical approach to study online communities of stigmatized individuals as “backstage” and refuge from social disapproval. The goal of this presentation is to extend this view through an examination of conversations with pro-ana bloggers, an online community for people with eating disorders. This analysis takes on the challenge of fusing Goffman’s ideas about identity performance and stigma with more recent theories about boundary maintenance, in finding out how the pro-ana community uses an online environment that is both anonymous and public. In-depth interviews with pro-ana members reveal that in order to protect this virtual group and resist the stigma associated with their illness and with their online presence, they construct their own norms and rules in the online realm.

Teresa Lynch, Ph.D. Student, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Nothing to fear? An analysis of frightening video game experiences

Abstract: A survey of 269 college-aged individuals was conducted to examine reports of fright experiences caused by video games. The results of the study reveal that, similar to other media, video games can indeed evoke fear experiences with over half of the participants reporting game-induced fear. Sex, sensation seeking, and empathy all emerged as important individual differences in fright experience in terms of enjoyment of frightening content, consumption of frightening content, and frequency of fright
experience. Participants identified interactivity as a significant contributor to fearPresentations of realism in terms of both graphical integrity and real world potentiality evoked fear. This study provides the first identification of game titles, stimuli, and features specific to this medium that affect the fright experience.

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