What is the CHARM Lab?
The Department of Communication at George Mason University hosts the Communication, Health, and Relational Media (CHARM) Lab, located in Research Hall Suite 450. The CHARM lab space accommodates eye tracking experiments (with two sets of Tobii X3-120 eye trackers and desktop stations), moderated focus groups, in-depth interviews, and also offers Research Assistant working area.
The CHARM Lab implements novel eye tracking technology to study how individuals respond to different health and environmental messages. Research conducted in the Lab has applied eye tracking methods in various health communication contexts, including climate change, vaccine misinformation correction, and public health campaign messages, to name a few. The CHARM Lab often collaborates with colleagues in other academic institutions and organizations, such as the Center for Climate Change Communication here at George Mason University, University of Minnesota, and the Center for Tobacco Products at the Food and Drug Administration.
How does the CHARM Lab work?
Dr. Sojung Claire Kim, the Director of the CHARM Lab, works with Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistants to collect eye tracking data from hundreds of participants annually. Study participants are solicited through multiple methods, including on-campus promotions, course credit opportunities, and/or social media advertising. Once in the lab, after giving their informed consent, participants are seated at a computer where they begin an eye tracking section of the study. A research assistant works with the participant to calibrate the eye tracking hardware to ensure that the settings are specifically adjusted to each participant. After completing the eye tracking and survey portions of the study, each participant is compensated in concordance with the IRB-approved protocol.