Experimental studies on effects of media usage


About the working group

This working group investigates the short-term effects of modern technology usage on well-being, especially among children and adolescents. In our research, we utilize and combine theories formulated within the field of psychology, media studies, and communication studies. These perspectives guide our attention towards the role of (inter)individual characteristics, specifics of online communication and interaction processes, and recognition of the importance of affordances of diverse online environments. As a result, we aim to capture the role of both socio-psychological characteristics of users and online cues in the effects of incidents mirroring media usage on adolescents’ well-being.

The core methodological approach of this group is centered on the usage of experimental designs. This comprises more traditional procedures, such as manipulation with selected stimuli representing online environments and specific incidents (e.g., acts of cyberaggression), enriched by the inclusion of recent approaches, especially the usage of eye-tracking technology. Moreover, we also plan to use qualitative methods to contextualize our findings. The usage and triangulation of more approaches and methods aims to provide rich and complex data.

Our experiments are based on thoroughly developed designs, emphasizing the strong theoretical rationale and high internal validity increased by cognitive pilots with adolescents. Experiments are preceded by power analyses conducted with regard to pre-designed analytical plans and pre-registration.

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Who we are

Hana Macháčková


Interested in: online aggression, cyberbullying, online communities, self-disclosure online, credibility of online information, online civic engagement

Nikol Kvardová

Interested in: social media and body image, eating disorders, youth's exposure to online harmful content

David Lacko

Interested in: credibility online, fake news, cross-cultural research, statistics and psychometrics, eye-tracking

Eliška Dufková

Interested in: cyberhate, development of stimuli, memory recall accuracy, bystander effect

Shanu Shukla

Interested in: media multitasking, cognitive & affective factors in online interaction, online aggression, online research methods, well-being

What we do

Our focus

Our experiments follow several topical areas related to media usage and effects on well-being. Currently, we focus on several topics related to cyberaggression. We are examining more types of aggression within this stream, including peer-to-peer aggression, cyberhate, violent content, or ostracism online. In other research areas, we look at the effects of exposure to online materials on the relationship to one’s body. In relation to health, we investigate the assessment of health-related online information.

Published studies

Pre-registered studies

  • Lacko & Machackova. The Influence of Online Advertising on Children’s Perceived Credibility of Information Related to the Fitness/Dietary Supplements. https://osf.io/4pvz6/?view_only=bc74764080d347019b88025a8663d837
  • Kvardova, N., & Machackova, H. (2021). The effect of endorsement of body-ideal photos on social media on adolescents' body image. https://osf.io/4gjky
  • Kvardova, N., Bedrosova, M., & Machackova, H. (2022). Blaming the victim of the weight-based cyberaggression: The SIDE model perspective. https://osf.io/fecn9

Studies in preparation

  • H. Machackova: Contextual factors affecting assessment of online peer aggression
  • E. Dufkova: The perception of cyberaggression in adolescence: An eye-tracking study

Cyber aggression

we focus on the exposure to aggressive online materials, examining peer-to-peer aggression, the phenomenon of cyberhate, or ostracism online

Body image

we are looking at the effects of exposure of online materials on the relationship to one’s body


we study the impact of anonymity and perceived anonymity on behaviors in the computer-mediated communication (e.g., cyberaggression)

Credibility of online information

we investigate the assessment of online information, now specifically health information

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