I am a Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University with a Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University (graduated 2021). My specialization is entertainment media psychology, with a specific focus in social influences on enjoyment and selection behaviors, and examines how audiences evaluate, select, and engage with media to determine what type of media audiences like, consume, and talk about. My work integrates social influence theories into media psychology to explain how social factors influence entertainment selection behaviors, enjoyment of content, and post-exposure behaviors (e.g., interactions with others, the salience of moral values). My research in this area has looked at how social norms and identity affect selection and enjoyment. Other projects focused on how content features like character traits and narrative outcomes shape character and narrative assessments, as well as subsequent effects on audiences. Studies in my research catalogĀ  integrated a wide array of quantitative methods that range from self-report surveys, experiments examining behavioral or psychophysiological data, and content analysis. As of 2023, I published nine peer-review scholarly journal articles in reputable journals such as Journal of Communication, Mass Communication and Society, and Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, along with two book chapters and a multitude of other scholarly contributions, including conferences presentations, research colloquia, and grant-funded studies.

In addition to research, I have nearly a decade of teaching experience across basic communication (e.g., public speaking), discipline-specific (e.g., audience response to entertainment), theory-based (e.g., persuasion, business communication), and methods courses at four higher-education institutions. My classroom experience covers online and in-person formats, where I taught small (10-20), medium (25-40), and large (140-250) classes of traditional, first-generation, and non-traditional students. Furthermore, my service experience includes leadership roles in course assessment, scholarship, and departmental committees.

My experience translates well to consumer insights, user experience, and market research and research management, as it applies a social-scientific understanding of how content features and social circumstance influence key media-industry performance indicators such as selection, engagement, and sustained exposure. In this way, my theoretical and methodological acumen could be used to serve a variety of industry needs, ranging from the ability to write engaging narrative content, develop easy-to-use and engaging product interfaces, optimize marketing strategies by using a mix of content and social appeals, and improve ongoing product strategies across a range of diverse stakeholders and publics.

I would love to expand on any of these topics on request. For more information, or copies of past work, please contact me at krystonk@shsu.edu.