Jim Blascovich is Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Co-Director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior which he co-founded with Jack Loomis, a perceptual scientist at UCSB in 1997. He held academic positions at the University of Nevada, Marquette University and SUNY at Buffalo before coming to UCSB in 1995. He is currently (2010-2011) a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. Jim is a past President of both the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. He is a Member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, a Charter Fellow of the American Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He is a recipient of the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize, the Inaugural Australasian Teaching Fellowship and an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He has served on several National Research Council panels and numerous editorial boards. His research has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for more than 20 years and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Laboratory, and other agencies. He has over 140 publications including 4 books.
His major research interests include social influence within technologically mediated environments and social neuroscience. Guided by his theoretical model of social influence within immersive virtual environments, Jim investigates social influence processes in virtual reality including conformity, non-verbal communication, collaborative decision-making and leadership. He has also developed the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat, guiding research on social psychological processes within and outside of virtual environments.
Jeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab and an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford. He earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. After receiving his doctorate, he spent four years at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor.
Bailenson's main area of interest is the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive virtual reality. He explores the manner in which people are able to represent themselves when the physical constraints of body and veridically-rendered behaviors are removed. Furthermore, he designs and studies collaborative virtual reality systems that allow physically remote individuals to meet in virtual space, and explores the manner in which these systems change the nature of verbal and nonverbal interaction.
His findings have been published in over 70 academic papers in the fields of communication, computer science, education, law, political science, and psychology. His work has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation for over a decade, and he also receives grants from various Silicon Valley and international corporations. Bailenson consults regularly for government agencies including the Army, the Department of Defense, the National Research Council, and the National Institute of Health on policy issues surrounding virtual reality.