Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver

Associate Professor, Media School, Communication Science


  • DePauw University, 1997 (Psychology); M.A. and Ph.D.
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006 (Speech Communication)

Research interests

My program of research could broadly be described as media psychology. That is, I am interested in why people consume certain types of content and how this content affects them and my work is informed by what we know about mental processes. I have research projects currently in progress in three focus areas:

On media violence, I’m working on developing a better understanding of how and why people consume violent content. This has included an examination of several content domains, including video games, television drama, and children’s cartoons, using a variety of research methods (e.g., meta-analysis, psychophysiology, self-report, content analysis).

With regards to choice in video games, my interest in the appeal of media violence has expanded into thinking about what happens in video games when players are given choices about their violent activity. This, in turn, has led to a few new research projects on moral choice in games. I’m especially interested in why players make the choices they do (e.g., are they guided by real-world moral codes, do they adopt the moral code of the narrative they’ve entered, or do they disregard morality in the game environment altogether?). I’m also interested in how the moral (or immoral) choices players make impact their enjoyment of and emotional reactions to the game.

My third research focus involves examining the impact of the race of characters in entertainment media on selective exposure to that content. With movies in particular there seems to be an assumption that casting minority actors will cause White audiences to avoid the film. I am exploring whether that perception is accurate, and if so, why outgroup audiences would practice selective avoidance and how this effect could be overcome.

Representative publications

Accidentally informed: Incidental news exposure on the World Wide Web (2001)
David Tewksbury, Andrew J Weaver and Brett D Maddex
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 78 (3), 533-554

Mirrored morality: An exploration of moral choice in video games (2012)
Andrew J Weaver and Nicky Lewis
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15 (11), 610-614

A meta-analytical review of selective exposure to and the enjoyment of media violence (2011)
Andrew J Weaver
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 55 (2), 232-250

The role of actors' race in white audiences' selective exposure to movies (2011)
Andrew J Weaver
Journal of Communication, 61 (2), 369-385

The role of graphic and sanitized violence in the enjoyment of television dramas (2009)
Andrew J Weaver and Barbara J Wilson
Human Communication Research, 35 (3), 442-463

Viewer ethnicity matters: Black crime in TV News and its impact on decisions regarding public policy (2015)
Ryan J Hurley, Jakob Jensen, Andrew Weaver and Travis Dixon
Journal of Social Issues, 71 (1), 155-170

A content analysis of print news coverage of media violence and aggression research (2013)
Nicole Martins, Andrew J Weaver, Daphna Yeshua-Katz, Nicole H Lewis, Nancy E Tyree and Jakob D Jensen
Journal of Communication, 63 (6), 1070-1087

More than a game: Sports media framing effects on attitudes, intentions, and enjoyment (2015)
Nicky Lewis and Andrew J Weaver
Communication & Sport, 3 (2), 219-242

The (non) violent world of YouTube: Content trends in web video (2012)
Andrew J Weaver, Asta Zelenkauskaite and Lelia Samson
Journal of Communication, 62 (6), 1065-1083

Developing a brief sensation seeking scale for children: Establishing concurrent validity with video game use and rule-breaking behavior (2011)
Jakob D Jensen, Andrew J Weaver, Rebecca Ivic and Kristen Imboden
Media Psychology, 14 (1), 71-95

Portrayals of women in transnational Arab television drama series (2014)
Tamara Kharroub and Andrew J Weaver
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 58 (2), 179-195

Emotional responses to social comparisons in reality television programming (2015)
Nicky Lewis and Andrew J Weaver
Journal of Media Psychology,

Skill gap: Quantifying violent content in video game play between variably skilled users (2013)
Nicholas L Matthews and Andrew J Weaver
Mass communication and society, 16 (6), 829-846

Gender and empathy differences in negative reactions to fictionalized and real violent images (2012)
Matthew J Kobach and Andrew J Weaver
Communication reports, 25 (2), 51-61

Liking violence and action: An examination of gender differences in children's processing of animated content (2011)
Andrew J Weaver, Jakob D Jensen, Nicole Martins, Ryan J Hurley and Barbara J Wilson
Media Psychology, 14 (1), 49-70

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Ross, Travis Steering Social Behavior in Online Video Games: A Calibration and Test of The Rational Reconstruction of Norms in a Multiplayer Dungeon Crawl (November 2013) Castronova, E. (Chair), Lang, A., Goldstone, R., Weaver, A.