The imwk research laboratory brings together five units equipped with cutting-edge technology for researching qualitative and quantitative questions in communication and media science.
The imwk research laboratory is equipped with a large monitor and a comfortable armchair to allow for an authentic reception experience. Three different methodological areas can be used in the research: Psychophysiological measurement methods, eye-tracking and computer-supported experiments with hand buttons for RTR measurements.
(1) Physiological Measuring Stations
A Biopac MP 150 system with modules for measuring ECG, EMG, EDA and respiration is used to record psychophysiological processes.
ECG - Electrocardiogram to record heart activity
The ECG can be used to record cognitive processing. Depending on the research interest, it is possible to examine individual areas, such as attention, orientation reactions or the reception or rejection of information.
EMG - Electromyogram to measure muscle activity
In the field of communication science, the EMG is mainly used to measure facial muscle activity. This provides information about the valence (positive - negative) of emotional experience.
EDA - Electrodermal activity of the skin
By changing the bioelectric properties of the skin (e.g. conductivity of electrical impulses) it is possible to study the activation state of the human body. The degree of so-called arousal becomes particularly interesting when examining the intensity of the emotional experience during the reception of exciting media content, for instance.
In addition to measuring bioelectric signals, the respiratory rate can also be recorded. Since emotional and cognitive processing also affect breathing, this method provides a meaningful complement to the other physiological measurements.
The imwk research laboratory also has an eye-tracking monitor that can be used to examine gaze and reading behaviour, for example when using different websites.
Computer Lab with Experimental Software
The programs MediaLab and DirectRT allow for the performance of computer-assisted experiments. Handheld RTR measurement devices can be used to record attention processes.
(2) Computer-aided Experiments
20 research notebooks with the MediaLab and DirectRT programs, as well as handheld RTR measurement buttons enable the performance of experimental studies with reaction time or real time response measurements.
(3) Cross-media Lab
Equipped with four high-performance computers, the objective behind this laboratory is the development of new cross-media formats that serve convergent journalism and the study of changing patterns of media use under multi-channel conditions (online and mobile).
(4) CATI Studio
The four CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) workstations are equipped with CATI software and soundproof headsets (headphones and microphones). They are used for telephone interviews.
(5) Stationary and Mobile Eye Tracking
The Eye Tracking Station is equipped with an Eye Tracking Monitor and Eye Tracking Goggles. While the monitor is used to examine the gaze and reading behavior, for example when using different websites, the mobile glasses can be used to examine the gaze behavior when mobile media are used in public spaces.
(6) Qualitative Research Stations
Extensive recording and evaluation infrastructures are available to record group discussions etc. and to observe the handling of e.g. media and new formats. The transcription program "f4 transcript" is also available for use - lecturer and teaching licenses can be purchased. For evaluation, the latest versions of the "MaxQDA" and "IBM SPSS Statistics" programs are also available.
(7) Virtual and Augmented Reality Technology
The VirtuaLab features state-of-the-art virtual and augmented reality technology that can be used both stationary and mobile. In addition to two sets of VR glasses (HTC Vive) and one set of AR-glasses (Microsoft HoloLens2), the lab is equipped with high-performance computers and laptops to operate the data glasses.
The lab facilities also include software for recording virtual sessions and a 360-degree camera for recording and evaluating the VR/AR use. The VirtuaLab is also equipped with various notebooks, iPhones (8 and X) and iPads to analyse mobile media appropriation and communication practices.
(8) Gaming Station with PS4 console, High-end Gaming PC and Steam library
The GameLab currently has a high-end gaming PC, a Playstation 4 Pro for 4K recordings and a 55" flat screen TV. The game library (Steam) is continuously updated and provides a wide selection of single and multiplayer games that can be played individually or in groups. The GameLab also features a wide range of hardware and software for recording individual and collective gaming experiences.
(8) Mangold Mobile Observation Lab
The "Mangold Mobil Observation Lab" provides a mobile recording and evaluation laboratory. It can be used for group discussions, interviews with experts and focus groups as well as for participating observations in order to record synchronized video and audio material. With the help of the Mangold Interact evaluation software, facial expressions and gestures can also be evaluated automatically.