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In this episode of the Step into the Metaverse Podcast, I chatted with Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, an Associate Professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information. Ratan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, his M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society, also from Stanford University.
Dr. Ratan’s research focuses primarily on the psychological experience and effects of media use, with an emphasis on avatars, video games, virtual worlds, and other interactive environments (e.g., the road, online education) that include mediated self-representations (e.g., avatars, automobiles, selfie videos).
He is particularly interested in how different facets of mediated self-representations (e.g., self-concept) influence the psychological experience of media use and how different parts of this psychological experience (e.g., embodiment, identification) affect a variety of outcomes, including education behaviours (e.g., classroom performance), health-related behaviours (e.g., food choice), and prejudicial/prosocial attitudes (e.g., gender/race bias).
His work also emphasizes the social implications of media use concerning gender and race-related disparities in meaningful contexts (e.g., STEM fields). In our in-depth conversation, we talked about the role of avatars, including what the requirements and characteristics of avatars will be. We discussed the risk of ending up in the Uncanny Valley, the risk of imposed avatars, and so much more. Tune in and enjoy!
If you are interested in learning more about the metaverse, you can order my book Step into the Metaverse here.