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Personal information

Tilo Hartmann is Professor for Virtual Reality and Communication, and chair of the Department of Communication Science at the VU Amsterdam. He studied Communication Science and obtained his PhD in 2005 at the University of Music, Drama, and Media Hanover. He has worked at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Southern California Los Angeles, and communication departments at the University of Erfurt, and University of Zurich.

In his work, Hartmann applies media psychology and related approaches of Communication Science. In the past he examined users' subjective experience of media, and particularly their perceptual illusions (presence, parasocial interaction, social perceptions of video game characters) and sometimes biased sense of reality (e.g., hostile-media bias, cyberchondria, online credibility, epistemological processing). Extending this work, Hartmann now focuses particularly on Virtual Reality in his research. His core aim is to understand the determinants and effects of the experience of presence in VR and related highly immersive media.   

In a second line of research, Hartmann examines how people use media for entertainment and their personal wellbeing.

He published in the major scientific journals of the field (e.g., Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Media Psychology), and several books, including "Media Choice: A theoretical and empirical overview." He served as member of the editorial boards of “Journal of Communication”, “Media Psychology”, “Human Communication Research”, as elected co-chair of the “Audience and Reception Studies Division” of the German Communication Association DGPuK, ECREA's audience and reception studies division, and as secretary of ICA's game studies interest group. Hartmann is also apppointed leader of the topic "Interconnectedness" at the faculty's Institute of Societal Resilience (ISR), and co-founder of the VR@VU group at the VU's Network Institute.


"I am fascinated by how immersive media trigger intense user experiences. A deeper understanding of how users experience highly immersive media like VR allows to better assess their potential effects, and design more effective applications."

Related ongoing research projects and collaborations

  • Diving into sustainability: Using virtual reality as a learning platform to promote sustainable behaviour. Together with Hande Sungur (UvA, PI), Guido van Koningsbruggen, WeMakeVR, the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute, and VU's A Broader Mind initiative, we develop and test an educational VR application that let's people reflect about their plastic waste.  
  • PersVR. Funded by a Marie-Curie fellowship grant by Miguel Barreda (VU), we empirically test a new theoretical model to learn about the persuasive power of 360-degree videos in changing people's minds about climate change and refugees.
  • InTouchWithVR. Together with Charlotte Gerritsen (VU Computer Science), Tijs Portegies, and Frederic Chamot I am examining how the anticipation of touch in VR affects users' sense of social presence.
  • Dual process model of presence. In this research line I seek to elaborate how people's sensory-driven sensation of presence and their cognitive awareness "that this is not truly happening" relate to each other - and shape users' experience and behaviour. 

Other related activities

  • Mapping the academic VR community in Netherlands and beyond. Together with the new XR Hub Leiden, VR Days Europe, and SURF, I aim to map and connect academics that apply VR in their research and/or teaching in higher education.  
  • VR@VU. Together with Marco Otte from VU's Network Institute, I aim to connect and strengthen the interdisciplinary community of VR scholars at the VU (website).   


  • Teaching experience includes development, coordination, and teaching of more than 12 different seminar/lecture classes provided at different universities in different countries
  • Curriculum development
  • Regular BA/MA/PhD theses supervision
  • BKO (basic teaching qualification) and SKO (advanced teaching qualification) certificate holder

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Communication
  • Communication Science
  • Virtual Reality
  • Media psychology
  • Presence
  • Effects
  • Selective exposure
  • Experience
  • XR
  • Video games
  • Entertainment
  • Parasocial
  • Hostile media
  • Resilience
  • Reality
  • Perceived realism
  • Illusion
  • Truth
  • Enjoyment
  • Virtual violence
  • Morality
  • Cyberchondria
  • Health anxiety
  • Outbreak communication
  • Conflict
  • Polarization
  • Mass communication
  • Internet
  • Social media
  • self-regulation
  • wellbeing


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