Harris Assured Information Series Hosts Celebrated Virtual World Expert April 21, 22

MELBOURNE, FLA.—The Harris Institute for Assured Information at Florida Institute of Technology is hosting Nick Yee, Ph.D., in the next installment of the Harris Distinguished Lecturer series of presentations April 21 and 22. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

The April 21 lecture will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the third floor conference room of the Harris Center for Science and Engineering building on the Florida Tech campus.

Yee will speak on “Data Collection in Virtual Worlds: Methods, Findings and Lessons Learned.” Virtual worlds offer a new research platform where behaviors and social interactions can be tracked precisely and automatically over time. Yee will introduce his current research projects involving World of Warcraft and Second Life, in which automated data collection tools are used in virtual worlds to examine a variety of social science questions. He will discuss Institutional Review Board challenges in virtual worlds, participant recruitment, processing large data sets, analyzing raw variables and problems with using traditional psychological statistics on these datasets.

The April 22 lecture will be at noon in the main auditorium of the F.W. Olin Engineering building.

Yee will discuss “Defying Reality: Using Virtual Worlds to Break Physical Reality in Productive Ways.” In this talk, he will address the replication of physical reality in virtual worlds like Second Life, and whether or not this replication limits the kinds of work and social interactions that could take place in virtual worlds. He will also present study findings that suggest how the rules in physical reality can be broken in productive ways and how they offer unique advantages in virtual worlds to imagine new kinds of social interactions.

Yee received his doctorate in communication from Stanford University in 2007. At Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, he conducted experiments in immersive virtual reality to explore digital self representation and social interaction. He is currently a research staff member at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in Palo Alto, Calif. He worked with PARC’s PlayOn group and Sony Online Entertainment to examine large data sets of behavioral data from online games.

Yee has an extensive research background in self-representation and social interaction in virtual environments and online games. He is also well-known for the Daedalus Project, a long-running survey study of over 50,000 online gamers, which explores demographic patterns, play motivations, and emergent social phenomena. His work has been cited by the New York Times, CNN, the Discovery Channel, and Science, among other news outlets.

For more information about the Harris Distinguished Lecturer series, contact Richard Ford, director, Harris Institute for Assured Information, at (321) 674-7473.

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