Karolien Poels is an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication at Department of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp, Belgium. She is a member of the research group MIOS (Media & ICT in Organizations & Society). She holds an MA in Communication Studies and a PhD in Social Sciences, both from Ghent University. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Human Technology Interaction Group of Eindhoven University of Technology where she was involved in the FUGA-project (EU-FP6).
Her research topics include: 1) advertising and consumer psychology and 2) digital games and social media. Emotions form a central topic in (most of) her studies. She is a certified FACS coder.
In her doctoral research, titled “The Heart of Advertising”, she studied the role of emotions in advertising processing and how emotions can be validly measured in an advertising/consumer context. She later applied this knowledge to the field of digital gaming.
Her gaming research is focused on player emotions and experiences in relation to game evaluations and preferences, player involvement and in-game advertising. She published internationally about this topic and has participated in many international conferences and workshops. She is also co-founder and member of the executive board of DiGRA Flanders.
Together with Heidi Vandebosch, she is supervising the Friendly ATTAC project (IWT SBO) in which a serious game targeted at bystanders of cyberbullying is being developed and further knowledge on the integration of digital games in changing behavior is being created. She is further involved in the AMiCA project (IWT SBO) in which the goal is to automatically monitor transgressive behavior on social network sites.
Recently she started to integrate the study of social media, the Internet and virtual worlds in her research. Topics include: ad tailoring, crisis communication through social media and virtual stores. She supervises doctoral theses on these topics.
Karolien Poels teaches Communication Management at the bachelor level and Consumer Psychology and Effectiveness Research of Strategic Communication at the master level. She is chair of the exam committee of the Bachelor in Political and Social Sciences.
Karolien Poels is a member of the Young Academy of Flanders in which she is involved in the working group Science Communication. She also serves as one of the board members of the Persuasive Communication division of the Netherlands-Flanders Communication Association (NeFCA).