Saraswathi Bellur

Associate Professor

Department of Communication


Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2012


Saraswathi (Saras) Bellur (Ph.D., Penn State University, 2012) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Connecticut (UConn). Situated in media effects, Dr. Bellur’s research focuses on understanding the psychological and physiological effects of interactive media on key communication processes and outcomes. With several publications in flagship journals in the field, Dr. Bellur’s work has contributed to both theoretical and empirical body of knowledge surrounding interactivity research. Dr. Bellur’s research has also focused on explication and measurement issues related to interactivity, cognitive heuristics and user engagement. Dr. Bellur has co-developed a new theoretical framework called the motivational technology model, which examines how we can harness unique affordances of new media, such as interactivity, to boost individual’s intrinsic motivation, and encourage them to engage in preventive health behaviors. Her recent work has also examined the effects of media multitasking on learning and enjoyment. Dr. Bellur looks forward to pursuing innovative and collaborative projects that contribute toward a theory-driven understanding of communication technologies and their effects.

Courses Taught

  • COMM 5660: Computer-Mediated Communication
  • COMM 4660W: Computer-Mediated Communication
  • COMM 1300: Introduction to Mass Media Systems

Research Interests

  • the concept of interactivity and its effect on users’ evaluation of media interfaces, mediated content and user engagement
  • the effect of interactive health technologies and their influence on attitudes toward preventive and proactive health behaviors
  • the role of psychophysiological responses [heart-rate (ECG), skin conductance (EDA), and brain-wave (EEG)] in understanding user responses to different forms of media and mediated content

Research Affiliations

UConn Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory

UConn InCHIP (Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy)

Select Publications

Rourke, B., Bellur, S., Nowak, K.L., (2023). All distractions are not equal: The moderating role of autistic traits and technology multitasking on academic performance among college students. Atlantic Journal of Communication. 32(3). DOI: 10.1080/15456870.2023.2177292

Sundar, S. S., Jia, H., Bellur, S., Oh, J., & Kim, H. S. (2022). News Informatics: Engaging individuals with data-rich news content through interactivity in source, medium, and message (number 9850). Proceedings of the 2022 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI), ACM Press. Honorable Mention. DOI:

Park, S., Xu, X., Rourke, B., & Bellur, S. (2019). Do you enjoy TV, while Tweeting? Effects of multitasking on viewer’s transportation, emotions and enjoyment. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 63(2), 231-249. Doi:

Bellur, S., & DeVoss, C. (2018). Apps and Autonomy: Perceived interactivity and autonomous regulation in mHealth applications. Communication Research Reports.
Doi: 10.1080/08824096.2018.1501672

Oh, J., Bellur, S., & Sundar, S. S. (2018). Clicking, assessing, immersing and sharing: An empirical model of user engagement with interactive media. Communication Research, 45(5), 737-763.
Doi: 10.1177/0093650215600493

Bellur, S., & Sundar, S. S. (2017). Talking health with a machine: How does message interactivity affect attitudes & cognitions? Human Communication Research, 43(1), 25-53. doi:10.1111/hcre.12094

Sundar, S. S., Bellur, S., Oh, J., Jia, H., & Kim, H. S. (2016). Theoretical importance of contingency in human-computer interaction: Effects of message interactivity on user engagement. Communication Research, 43 (5), 595-625.  Doi: 10.1177/0093650214534962

Oh, J., Bellur, S., & Sundar, S. S. (2015). Clicking, assessing, immersing and sharing: An empirical model of user engagement with interactive media. Communication Research, 1-27. Doi: 10.1177/0093650215600493

Bellur, S., Nowak, K. L., & Hull, K.S. (2015). Make it our time: In class multitaskers have lower academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 53, 63-70.

Dardis, F. E., Schmierbach, M., Ahern, L., Fraustino, J., Bellur, S., Brooks, S., & Johnson, J. (2015). The effects of in-game Virtual Direct Experience (VDE) on reactions to real-world brands. Journal of Promotion Management, 21, 313–334. Doi:10.1080/10496491.2015.1021503

Kim, K., Schmierbach, M. G., Bellur, S., Chung, M-Y., Fraustino, J. D., Dardis, F., & Ahern, L. (2015). Is it a sense of autonomy, control, or attachment? Exploring the effects of in-game customization on game enjoyment. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 695-705.

Bellur, S., & Sundar, S. S. (2014). How can we tell when a heuristic has been used? Design and analysis strategies for capturing the operation of heuristics. Communication Methods and Measures, 8 (2), 116-137. Doi:10.1080/19312458.2014.903390

Sundar, S. S., Bellur, S., Oh, J., Xu, Q., & Jia, H. (2014). User experience of on-screen interaction techniques: An experimental investigation of clicking, sliding, zooming, hovering, dragging, and flipping. Human–Computer Interaction, 29 (2), 109-152. Doi:10.1080/07370024.2013.789347

High, A., Oeldorf-Hirsch, A., Bellur, S. (2014) Misery doesn’t get company: The influence of emotional bandwidth on supportive communication in Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 34, 79-88. Doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.01.037

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-1007
Mailing Address337 Mansfield Rd, Unit 1259 Storrs, CT 06269
Office Location212 ARJ