Research Overview

As a media psychologist, I investigate the fragmentation of life experience by researching how people interact with media to manage their lives. My research looks at the implications of new media technology allowing people to actively and quickly switch (on average every 19 seconds) between varied media content that encompasses all of life experience, including social relationships, work, entertainment, travel, food delivery, finances, and health. My publications are on Google Scholar.

Self-driving cars

At Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project), I currently lead quantitative user experience research in understanding and designing for current and future ways that people and self-driving cars interact with each other. One of my research areas is around the psychology of how people experience and integrate self-driving cars into daily life.

Waymo's fully self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan

Fragmentation of experience

Individual media threads of experience

My research at Stanford University investigates the fragmentation of digital life by studying how and when people multitask with media. As computers and smart phones become dominant sources of a greater range of content, an entire day can be experienced on a screen, from social interactions to work to errands and entertainment. This work combines new methods to capture screen recordings and behavioral data in studying how people sequence media content in creating unique threads of digital experience.

Virtual reality

At Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL), my research investigated the effects of interaction with virtual avatars on subsequent real world behavior. In one study, the effects of interacting with one's future self in order to visualize the future were shown to greatly increase the probability of accepting later monetary awards over immediate ones. Another study found that just the perception that a virtual avatar was controlled by a human led to greater social influence than the perception that it was controlled by a computer.

Interacting with your future self

Six second looping videos, browsers, and space

Developing a typology of Internet users

At Vine (acquired by Twitter), I established the user research team to understand the psychology of six second looping videos and their impact on digital culture.

At Mozilla, my research on Firefox focused on exploring the relationship between psychological factors of user behavior and browser usage patterns, such as multitasking. It culminated in a behavioral segmentation study of browser users, resulting in a user typology of attitudes, beliefs, and cognitions.

And at NASA, I prototyped a mixed human-robot controlled interface to be used by astronauts in operating the carbon dioxide removal system (CDRS) on the International Space Station.