top of page



Selected sample of our work in the Media

Lab director Dr Brendan Rooney talks with @JFLdotCOM about his career and research from the psychology of film and stories to existential questions of the future of VR and media entertainment.

 See here for show notes

Image by Onur Binay

“An Irish psychologist is urging caution around a new study, which claims to show a link between playing violent video games and aggressive behaviour… (Dr) Brendan Rooney from the UCD School of Psychology says the studies they reviewed do not show a direct link between the two.”

Tearjerker TVToday with Claire Byrne
00:00 / 11:31

Dr Brendan Rooney, talks with Claire Byrne and Jenn Gannon, TV and Popular Culture Journalist.


“…We're also joined on the episode by two experts in reality TV, Professor Annette Hill and Dr Brendan Rooney, who explain to us how to define reality TV and how it's evolved in recent decades, whether binge-watching reality TV shows can be a bad thing, and what indeed we might be LEARNING from Love Island, as we judge the islander's interesting decisions and questionable outfit choices.”

Billede1 ver 3.png

Can brain research improve trailers?

Collaboration with the Danish Broadcasting Company, Norsk Film and the Danish Film Institute

“…Irish researcher Dr Brendan Rooney (University College Dublin) is now planning, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Copenhagen, to expand the pilot study with a new study. This should culminate in a scientific article on the field…”.

Scary Window Silhouette

“Dr Brendan Rooney of UCD School of Psychology says there are several reasons for the deep-rooted relish we have for being terrified. ”There is a claim or theory that there's an evolutionary advantage to experiencing fear," he said. "What we have learned is that by experiencing things like fear, we are learning in a protected environment how to deal with real situations. Even though we never may have a zombie crashing through the house, we are learning what to do when we are met with fear," he explained.”


“There is an idea derived from evolutionary psychology that we need our emotions for survival and that we need them all,” says Brendan Rooney, a specialist in emotional engagement from the UCD School of Psychology. “ They each play a role…”

Image by Krists Luhaers

"Psychological theory suggests that immersion is one of a few factors that all work together and support each other," says co-author Brendan Rooney, a psychologist who researches film and emotion…”

Tearjerker TV - Today with Claire Byrne


“…We speak to vampire bat expert Dr Daniel Streicker from the University of Glasgow, and friend of the podcast Dr Brendan Rooney, to run us through the psychology of why we love horror films, and what we can even learn from them.”


“Even without the presence of a music therapist, listening to music has been shown to reduce people’s experience of pain. This is not necessarily a quick fix like you might expect with a pharmacological treatment, but music can help you to tolerate pain for longer or experience pain of a greater intensity before you feel it as painful or uncomfortable."


“Rooney and his colleagues explain that skin conductance – that is, the skin’s sweatiness – is influenced only by the sympathetic nervous system (which triggers the fight or flight response) and not by the parasympathetic nervous system (which calms us down). By contrast, heart rate is influenced by both."


“Dr Brendan Rooney's main specialisation is in video and emotion. In reaction to Facebook’s choice to re-allow such decapitation videos be posted up on its digital platform, he had this to say: "Violence is common on television with shows like Breaking Bad and Love/Hate."


Media is everywhere, but what do we get out of it?

(Event hosted by Hellobanter, 2018)

Attending lab members:

Claire Howlin – why the benefits of music listening on smart devices is more important than screen time risks

Brendan Rooney – separating the people from the devices, where do we draw the line

Nicola Fox Hamilton – the role of online platforms in dating and match making

Darragh Lynch – data mining and retrieving your media footprint from online dating websites


The Twilight Zone: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality DEAD LINK

Controlling emotions: movies & (virtual) reality

TEDxUCD, 2015

The stories we tell ourselves

Keynote at Student Talks, 2016

Reading the mind in films

Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Denmark, Invited talk

bottom of page