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Personal profile

Personal information

Tilo Hartmann is Professor for Virtual Reality and Communication, and chair of the Department of Communication Science at the VU University 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 links media psychology to other fields of Communication Science. His research primarily focuses on users' subjective experience of media, and particularly media-induced perceptual illusions (presence, parasocial interaction, social perceptions of video game characters) and media users' subjective 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. 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.


In my own research, I combine communication-scientific and media-psychological expertise to illuminate how media affects users, depending on the way users subjectively process and experience media. More specifically, I try to understand how mediated illusions (including users’ parasocial interaction, virtual violence against seemingly real video game characters, and Presence experiences in Virtual Reality) as well as their biased media perceptions (including cyberchondria and hostile media biases) affect users. Furthermore, as I maintain a background in entertainment research, I am interested in understanding the psychological function and effects of media entertainment, e.g., on psychological wellbeing and recreation.


  • 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
  • Media
  • Media psychology
  • Experience
  • Effects
  • Selective exposure
  • Presence
  • Virtual Reality
  • 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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Tilo Hartmann is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2005 2020

Spontaneous hedonic reactions to social media cues

van Koningsbruggen, G. M., Hartmann, T., Eden, A. L. & Veling, H., 2017, In : Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 20, 5, p. 334-340

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

How violent video games communicate violence: A literature review and content analysis of moral disengagement factors

Hartmann, T., Krakowiak, M. & Tsay-Vogel, M., 2014, In : Communication Monographs. 81, 3, p. 310-332

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
computer game
content analysis

The guilty couch potato: The role of negative emotions in reducing recovery through media use

Reinecke, L., Hartmann, T. & Eden, A. L., 2014, In : Journal of Communication. 64, 4, p. 569-589 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

international communication

The role of health anxiety in online health information search

Hartmann, T. & Baumgartner, S., 2011, In : Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 14, 10, p. 613-618

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
health information

The PSI-process scales: A new measure to assess the intensity and breadth of parasocial processes

Schramm, H. & Hartmann, T., 2008, In : Communications. 33, 4, p. 385-401 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Activities 2016 2016

  • 3 Lecture / Presentation

Phantom phone signals among millennials: Signs of the times?

Jaap W. Ouwerkerk (Speaker), Martin Tanis (Speaker), C.J. Beukeboom (Speaker), T. Hartmann (Speaker), I.E. Vermeulen (Speaker)
5 Feb 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

VR und die Veränderung unserer Wahrnehmung (How VR changes our perception)

T. Hartmann (Speaker)
24 Nov 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

How to publish a world-class (or at least top-ranked) paper

T. Hartmann (Speaker)
10 Nov 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Press / Media

Waarom spelen we zo graag oorlogsgames?

Tilo Hartmann


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Waarom zijn series zo verslavend?

Tilo Hartmann


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other

Forskere mener krigspill påvirker oss

Tilo Hartmann


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other


Tilo Hartmann


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Other