D. Fox Harrell





14N/ E15-207/ 326

Fox Harrell is a researcher exploring the relationship between imaginative cognition and computation. His research involves developing new forms of computational narrative, gaming, social media, and related digital media based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. The National Science Foundation has recognized Harrell with an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation.” Harrell holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. His other degrees include a Master's degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University, and a B.F.A. in Art, B.S. in Logic and Computation (each with highest honors), and minor in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked as an interactive television producer and as a game designer. His recent book is Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression (MIT Press, 2013).



Provoking Critical Reflection on Gender Discrimination with Chimeria: Grayscale

The computer as a medium offers a unique expressive palette for storytellers. With it, we can build and convey models of crucial, moving issues in our world. As a step toward this aim as it relates to sexism, we present our interactive narrative called Grayscale. The experience is intended to provoke players to reflect critically on sexism in the workplace, both overt & hostile and more subtle.


Toward Using Virtual Identities in Computer Science Learning for Broadening Participation

Our research seeks to discover best practices for using avatars to enhance performance, engagement, and STEM identity development for diverse public middle and high school computer science students. As sites of our research we run workshops in which students learn computer science in fun, relevant ways, and develop self-images as computer scientists.

Sneha Veeragoudar Harrell



Changing Minds via Roleplay in Interactive Digital Media

We aim to study the impact of computer-supported roleplaying in changing social perspectives of digital media users. Such media could take the form of videogames, VR systems, training software, and other types of interactive narrative technology.


Culturally-Grounded Virtual Identities: A Case Study in a Qatari Context

Mixed-methods qualitative (interviews and coding) and computational (AI) approach to understanding relationships between social identities, cultural values, and virtual identity technologies (e.g., online profiles and avatars).

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Danielle Olson: Building empathy through computer science and art

Communicating through computers has become an extension of our daily reality. But as speaking via screens has become commonplace, our exchanges are losing inflection, body language, and empathy. Danielle Olson ’14, a first-year PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), believes we can make digital information-sharing more natural and interpersonal, by creating immersive media to better understand each other’s feelings and backgrounds.