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Carrie Heeter - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Carrie Heeter Carrie Heeter

Professor of Media and Information | Michigan State University


Carrie Heeter is an expert in meditation, cybermeditation, user experience design, and serious games.



Carrie Heeter Publication



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Carrie Heeter - Thinking about human values in design process Childhood Play Meditation by Carrie Heeter Intro to MSU SGD Program



An expert in serious games, specifically gender and games, and co-editor of the forthcoming MIT Press book, Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender, Games, and Computing.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (8)


Meditation Research

Online Learning

User Experience Design

Serious Games

Meditation Apps



Education (2)

Michigan State University: Ph.D., Mass Media 1986

Michigan State University: B.A., Communication 1982

News (5)

Guided Meditation Explores the Feeling of Meaningful Play

Michigan State University  online

The calm voice of Carrie Heeter, Ph.D., a professor of Media and Information for ComArtSci, opens a guided meditation with a focus on the body and the breath, to help participants reconnect with childhood play. For more than seven years, Heeter has designed cybermeditation, but this is the first time she’s created one centered on meaningful play.

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Meditation App Benefits Hospice and Palliative Care Clinicians

Oncology Nursing News  online


Unavoidable emotional workplace stressors may threaten personal health and occupational wellbeing of clinicians who care for patients with cancer. Although advances in diagnostic technology and expanding treatment options have improved survival rates for individuals with many cancers, patients and their families are exposed to continued suffering as they endure often debilitating treatments and disease progression. Oncology providers carry a high risk of developing compassion fatigue, psychic strain, and exhaustion as a result of chronic exposure to others’ pain.

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Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Patients With Cancer

Oncology Nursing News  online


Yoga is a complementary mind–body therapy that may help people manage cancer symptoms or adverse effects of treatments and improve their quality of life. The summary of research from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health on mind–body interventions suggests that yoga may help with anxiety, depression, distress, and stress in people with cancer.1 Results of studies of patients with early-stage breast cancer and survivors suggest that yoga may help to reduce fatigue. Meditation, one of the tools of yoga, has similarly been shown to address anxiety, stress, fatigue, and general mood and sleep disturbances.1

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Billionaires Innovation Leadership Money Consumer Industry Lifestyle Featured BrandVoice Virtual Reality Storytellers Are Ready To Get Into Your Headset

Forbes  online


It’s not like Virtual Reality/360 Video proponents and researchers need to guess if people want it. For example, Dr. Carrie Heeter studied 787 people who answered a battery of questions about VR and found people were ready for the virtual ride. From how real an experience felt (some experienced VR before the survey) to how likely a user would be to enjoy a certain kind of VR content, it seems virtual worlds offer many use cases.

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MSU Today  online


What kinds of things have you accomplished today? Maybe you finished a big work project. Maybe you got the kids off to school. Maybe you treated a patient or taught a student. Maybe you even made a great discovery. Did you do it completely alone?

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Research Focus (1)

Cybermeditation and Serious Games

I design and study cybermeditation and teach foundations of serious games and human-centered experience design courses. I live in San Francisco, using a wide range of technologies to “telerelate,” teach, and collaborate with my colleagues and students in Michigan and around the world. I have studied meditation intensively for seven years with my teacher, Dr. Marcel Allbritton, in the tradition of Sri T. Krishnamacharya and T.K.V. Desikachar. I am a certified Yoga Meditation Teacher. For the last six years I have participated in bi-monthly meditation planning classes taught by Chase Bossart. Together Marcel and I have been developing approaches to design and deliver meditation in this system of yoga and meditation. I am Founding Director of Mindtoon Lab (now also known as Yoga Mind Tools), a startup that designs Mindtoon™ cybermeditation experiences including virtual reality meditation experiences and outcome-based meditation apps for productivity, lifestyle, and well-being. We also explore the idea of meditation as meaningful play. I direct MSU’s fully online graduate certificate in serious games. Throughout my 40+ year career, I have designed and studied technology-enhanced experiences. I have designed and directed development of more than 50 interactive experiences including learning and cognitive games and other technology-enhanced learning experiences, interactive learning systems, and patient empowerment software. I have published more than 100 books, chapters, articles, and proceedings about individual and social impacts of interactive technology, gender and gaming, and playstyles and player types.

Journal Articles (4)

Meditation as an Intervention for Health: A Framework for Understanding Meditation Research

OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine

Marcel Allbritton & Carrie Heeter

2018 We propose a framework for understanding meditation that can support greater scientific rigor in reporting meditation research, and selecting meditation health interventions. There is no consistent and thorough framework for describing meditation research interventions. This impedes rigor of meditation research design and interpretation of findings. This also limits meaningful comparisons across research studies. The audience for this article includes researchers, meditation experts, healthcare professionals, and those with interest in meditation. The framework describes the key components of a meditation intervention. We also discuss how meditation can effect individuals differently, and provide suggestions for describing the qualifications of the expert who designed the meditations in an intervention.

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Hospice and Palliative Care Provider Experiences With Meditation Using Mobile Applications.

Oncology Nursing Forum

Lehto RH, Heeter C, Allbritton M, Wiseman M

2018 Healthcare providers who are involved in the care of patients at the end of life are at risk of developing compassion fatigue, a condition characterized by emotional exhaustion and reduced professional engagement. Research has shown that development of a meditation practice can modify stress perceptions and promote quality of life. This study aimed to evaluate perceived benefits, challenges, and recommendations following participation in a workplace mobile application- and email-based meditation research program.11 healthcare providers who participated in the feasibility pilot were recruited from Sparrow Health System in Lansing, Michigan.Three focus groups and one in-depth interview were conducted. Data were analyzed using qualitative methodology.Major themes included program advantages and limitations, challenges that affected adherence, and support for caregivers.Findings support further evaluation of a technology-mediated meditation program for professional caregivers to reduce perceived stress associated with the work environment.

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The effects of cognitive capacity and gaming expertise on attention and comprehension

Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

Y.‐H. Lee, C. Heeter

2017 Educational video games can impose high cognitive demands on its users. Two studies were conducted to examine the cognitive process involved in playing an educational digital game. Study 1 examined the effects of users' working memory capacity and gaming expertise on attention and comprehension of the educational messages. The results showed that gaming experts seem to benefit more from having a higher working memory capacity when processing information from the game. However, gaming experts' available working memory did not predict better comprehension. Instead, non‐experts' available working memory predicted better comprehension. Study 2 further examined whether these results were caused by insufficient working memory allocation or different attention focus between gaming experts and non‐experts. The findings suggest that gaming experts approach the game differently from non‐experts, focusing on familiar features and overlooking unfamiliar (educational) information.

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Effects of a Technology-Assisted Meditation Program on Healthcare Providers’ Interoceptive Awareness, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing

Heeter, Carrie PhD; Lehto, Rebecca PhD, RN; Allbritton, Marcel PhD; Day, Tom MA; Wiseman, Michelle MPA, RN

2017 Research suggests that meditation can relieve stress, cultivate self-regulation skills, improve ability to focus, and modify risk for compassion fatigue (CF) and burnout in healthcare providers. However, studied interventions are time-consuming and combining disparate approaches, resulting in unclear mechanisms of effect. This pilot study examined a novel 6-week technology-assisted meditation program, coherently grounded in the system of yoga therapy that required minimal time. Five 10- to 12-minute meditations were offered via smartphone apps supported by biweekly e-mails. Hospice and palliative professionals at a Midwestern US healthcare network participated in the program (n = 36). Each meditation integrated attention, synchronized breath, gentle movements and a meditation focus. Weekly e-mails introduced a new meditation and reminded participants how and why to practice. The participants used the meditations a mean of 17.18(SD, 8.69) times. Paired t tests found significant presurvey to postsurvey improvements for CF/burnout (P < .05) and interoceptive awareness (P < .001). Participation significantly heightened perceived ability and propensity to direct attention to bodily sensations, increased awareness of physical sensations’ connections to emotions, and increased active body listening. The technology-assisted yoga therapy meditation program successfully motivated providers to meditate. The program required minimal time yet seemed to reduce CF/burnout and improve emotional awareness and self-regulation by heightening attention to present-moment bodily sensations.

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