Profile: Shyam Sundar
Professor of Communication
S. Shyam Sundar is the founder of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, a leading facility of its kind in the country. He teaches courses in the psychology of communication technology, media theory, and research methodology.
He earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in communication. He also holds bachelor's degrees in communication and engineering. His industry experience includes more than eight years as a journalist.
Just as his background is eclectic, his current work is quite interdisciplinary—he holds joint faculty appointments in the departments of film-video and media studies, advertising, architecture, and communication arts and sciences at Penn State.
Prof. Sundar’s research investigates social and psychological effects of technological elements unique to online communication, ranging from websites to newer social and personal media. In particular, his studies experimentally investigate the effects of interactivity, navigability, multi-modality, and agency (source attribution) in digital media interfaces upon online users’ thoughts, emotions, and actions.
His research is supported by the National Science Foundation, Korea Science and Engineering Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services, among others.
Sundar was among the first to publish refereed research on the effects of internet-based media in Journal of Communication, the flagship publication of the International Communication Association (ICA). His work has also appeared in other leading journals, such as Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Media Psychology, Human Computer Interaction, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Behaviour & Information Technology, The Information Society, Journal of Advertising, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. In addition, he has published in leading conference proceedings such as CHI (Computer Human Interaction), HRI (Human Robot Interaction), and INTERACT.