Jeremy Bailenson is an expert on human interaction in virtual environments. He is the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and a professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford.
Professor Bailenson’s main area of interest is the phenomenon of digital human representation, especially in the context of immersive virtual reality (VR). He designs and studies collaborative virtual reality systems that allow physically remote individuals to meet in virtual space, and explores the manner in which these systems change the nature of verbal and nonverbal interaction.
He is the coauthor of Infinite Reality (William Morrow, 2011), the canonical book on the psychology of VR, which has had a major impact in many contexts, for example corporate strategy and innovation, Supreme Court deliberation, and national security.
Bailenson is active in Silicon Valley’s surge of VR ventures, serving on several advisory boards and as co-founder of STRIVR, an early-stage company in sports simulations using virtual reality. In 2014, weeks before Facebook announced that it had acquired virtual reality gaming headset manufacturer Oculus Rift, Zuckerberg made a private visit to Stanford University to visit the VR lab and Jeremy Bailenson.
His findings have been published in over 70 academic papers in the fields of communication, computer science, education, law, marketing, political science, and psychology. His work has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation for over a decade, and he also receives grants from various Silicon Valley and international corporations. Bailenson consults regularly for government agencies including the Army, the Department of Defense, the National Research Council, and the National Institute of Health on policy issues surrounding virtual reality. He is quoted widely in the business and scientific press.
Bailenson earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. After receiving his doctorate, he spent four years at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor.