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Jesse  Fox - The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH, US

Jesse Fox

Assistant Professor | School of Communication | The Ohio State University


Communication expert, focusing on the impact of new media on human sociality






Hey, Guys: Posting a Lot of Selfies Doesn't Send a Good Message





Generally, my research is concerned with the effects and implications of new media technologies, including virtual worlds, video games, social networking sites, and mobile applications. In particular, I am interested in how our online selves and social interactions influence our offline identities, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, including relationship initiation, development, maintenance, and dissolution. I employ multiple methods in my research, including experiments, surveys, content analyses, focus groups, and interviews. I collaborate with several graduate students in my lab, VECTOR (Virtual Environment, Communication Technology, and Online Research).

My current projects are in three general areas: the role of social media in romantic relationships; persuasive avatars and virtual environments; and gender, sex, and sexuality in virtual spaces. Regarding social media and romantic relationships, we've investigated how users escalate relationships using social media; the positive and negative effects of social media use on relationships; and how breakups play out over social media. With persuasive avatars, we have built virtual environments designed to encourage healthy and pro-environmental behaviors and tested the effects of manipulating avatar features (e.g., self-similarity) to enhance prosocial outcomes. In other avatar research, we've investigated how embodying sexualized avatars affects female users and how men and women react to sexualized representations. We've also probed sex and gender in the context of video games, including sexual harassment in online games.


Teaching about new technologies is exciting because of the applicability of the material to our everyday lives. Learning to analyze, critique, and understand these technologies is crucial so that students can maximize their effectiveness in practice and make informed decisions regarding their use. My classes also focus on developing writing skills as they are a fundamental part of earning a degree in Communication.


When I’m not reading, writing, or researching, I enjoy listening to music, playing sports, learning trivial crafts and skills, frolicking in the outdoors, road tripping, cooking, and--my favorite hobby of all--eating. I proudly hail from Louisville, Kentucky, and love rolling hills, fried food, and all things bluegrass. Most of all, I love Derby (of the Kentucky, roller, and Hall varieties) and plan my calendar around the first Saturday in May.

Industry Expertise (9)


Public Policy

Program Development

International Affairs

Media - Broadcast

Media - Online

Media - Print

Writing and Editing


Areas of Expertise (4)

Social media use

Representations of sex, gender, and sexuality in media

Representations in virtual environments

Prosocial communication

Education (3)

Stanford University: Ph.D., Communication 2010

Stanford University: M.A., Communication 2009

University of Arizona: M.A., Communication 2006

Media Appearances (3)

Virtualandia: The Hottest New Real Estate Is In The Ether

Popular Science  online


“If a company’s already sold a trillion copies of Grand Theft Auto in which we smack around women and sexualize them, why change that?” asks Jesse Fox, a researcher I spoke to at Ohio State University. “If companies are already taking a risk on a new technology, they’re not also going to take risks with different types of content.”

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The Lasting Damage of Online Sexual Harassment



“Most women players understand trash talking and having their playing skill insulted, even if they don’t like it,” said Dr. Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and professor of communication at Ohio State University. “But what disturbs them is being targeted simply for being a woman. They don’t easily forget those comments and continue to think about them when they’re done playing.”...

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Men Who Post Selfies Are More Narcissistic

New York Magazine  


For the study, Jesse Fox, an assistant professor at Ohio State, and Margaret Rooney, a graduate student there, had a sample of 800 men fill out an online survey that included both questions about their social-media habits and items designed to measure their levels of narcissism, psychopathy, and self-objectification (which is basically what it sounds like: the internalization of the idea that people are valuable primarily to the extent they’re seen as sexually attractive)...

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Recent Research (2)

Why Sexual Harassment Is Worse Than Other Types of Abuse Online

The Ohio State University


“Most women players understand trash talking and having their playing skill insulted, even if they don’t like it,” said Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University...

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Hey, Guys: Posting a Lot of Selfies Doesn’t Send a Good Message

The Ohio State University


“It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are more narcissistic, but this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study,” said Jesse Fox, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University. “The more interesting finding is that they also score higher on this other anti-social personality trait, psychopathy, and are more prone to self-objectification.”...

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