Frank Waddell and Lauren Bayliss, who both graduated with Master's degrees from the Virginia Tech Department of Communication in May, presented research they conducted in the G.A.M.E.R. Lab at the International Communication Association's annual conference held in Phoenix May 24-28.

The conference features leading research in the communication discipline, primarily in the form of competitively-selected papers from scholars based all over the world.

Waddell, who will be starting doctoral study at Penn State's College of Communications in the fall, presented a paper titled, "White Man’s Virtual World:  A Systematic Content Analysis of Gender and Race in Massively Multiplayer Online Games."  The paper, which Waddell led along with co-authors and recent Virginia Tech Department of Communiation M.A. graduates Rommelyn Conde, Courtney Long, and Rachel McDonnell, described a systematic study of gender and race among characters in four popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games.  Waddell and his co-authors found that in these games, characters were disportionately male and white, even more so than the demographics of the games' audiences.

Bayliss, who begins doctoral work at the University of Florida's School of Journalism and Communications in the fall, presented a paper titled, "Receptive to Bad Reception: Can Jerky Video Make Persuasive Messages More Effective?" Bayliss was the lead author of the paper, which was co-authored with recent Virginia Tech Department of Communication M.A. graduate Lauren Dennis, English graduate student Alexandra McCarthy, Education graduate student Kendall Woodard, G.A.M.E.R. Lab director James D. Ivory, Indiana University School of Informatics professor Karl MacDorman, and Indiana University School of Informatics doctoral student Himalaya Patel.  Bayliss and her co-authors found that adding jerkiness to the video playback of a persuasive message from a doctor actually increased some indicators of compliance in a hypothetical medical scenario rather than decreasing the recorded speaker's credibility.

The G.A.M.E.R. Lab will miss the contributions of Waddell and Bayliss, who both served as lab associates at times during their graduate study.