About MEL

The Media Effects Lab (MEL) is a research and teaching facility dedicated to the exploration of how media consumers emotionally and cognitively process media content and formats. This includes questions pertaining to:

  • What media elements are garnering attention, and how much?
  • Which parts of what they’re seeing do they like the best?
  • How is information presented in media content being processed?
  • How much information is being retained?
  • How intense are responses and experiences?
  • Are instantaneous, pre-conscious reactions positive or negative?

Faculty and student researchers use advanced experimental and survey methodologies, and technologies (e.g. reaction time, facial expression analysis, heart rate, eye tracking, etc.) to investigate theoretical and applied problems, explore innovations, and uncover trends in mass communication. Students, undergraduate and graduate, have the opportunity to explore communications research interests through coursework, projects through LSU Discover, the Honors College, the McNair Program, or collaboratively in student-led applied or academic research groups.

  • Faculty conduct a variety of online and lab experiments using measures such as secondary task reaction time, implicit association tests and physiological recordings. Faculty also utilize the lab as a teaching space, advising student-led research groups in media effects, political communication and health communication.
  • Graduate and undergraduate students regularly conduct 15-25 original research projects, annually. These studies take the form of course projects, independent studies, honors and master’s theses, and dissertations.
  • Researchers also have access to a participant pool numbering 800-1,200 students per semester.  Facility personnel manage the pool through the MEL online participation system. Participants earn varying amounts of course credit for communications and political science courses by signing up for online and lab-based studies.

Among those areas studied are:

  • Media Effects/Media Psychology
  • Political Communication
  • Entertainment and Sports
  • Digital Advertising
  • Health Communication
  • News and Information
  • Stereotypes and Implicit Attitudes
  • Public Relations

For more information on specific projects, click here.