Jessica Hammer

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Jessica Hammer
ResidencePittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Citizenship United States
Alma materColumbia University,
Harvard University
Scientific career
InstitutionsCarnegie Mellon University,
Human-Computer Interaction Institute

Jessica Hammer is an assistant professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Hammer, who was a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, attended the Maimonides School, in Brookline, Massachusetts.[3]

She is the daughter of Michael Martin Hammer.[4]

She earned her B.A. at Harvard University, her MS from the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program and her Ph.D. in cognitive studies at Columbia University,[5] where she developed the game design course sequence[6] and was a founding member of the Teachers College EGGPLANT game research laboratory.[7][8][9]


Hammer's research focuses on the psychology of games, focusing on the way specific game design decisions affect how players think and feel. Her larger research interests include creativity, gender, mobile technologies, and community design, with a specific focus on how games can change the way people think, feel, and behave.[2]

While a graduate student at Columbia, Hammer helped create Lit, a mobile game designed to help individuals quit smoking.[10] Hammer has worked on video games for the National Institute of Health and for Nokia.[11]

She also spent time in Ethiopia, working with local partners to create game clubs that help girls acquire the social capital and the skills they need to solve their problems for themselves.[12] In 2014 she was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist.[13]

In his 1998 book, Why We Don 't Talk to Each Other Anymore: The De-Voicing of Society, biolinguist John L. Locke discusses the research produced by Hammer as a young researcher working with Simon Baron-Cohen. According to Locke, Baron-Cohen and Hammer found that the parents of individuals with Asperger's syndrome did less well than the general population on tasks involving the interpretation of emotional status of others by looking at the expression of their eyes, and better than the general population at identifying shapes embedded within complex designs.[14]

Since 2014, Hammer's recent projects include exploring live action role-playing games as a potential avenue for improving mental or physical health,[15] and conducting research on how games may reduce opioid abuse after work-related injuries.[16]

Currently, Hammer is also teaching courses related to Game Design and Learning Media at Carnegie Mellon University.


  1. ^ "HCII List of Faculty". Carnegie Mellon.
  2. ^ a b Leonard, Kimberly (29 May 2015). "Gaming the System". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  3. ^ Saltus, Richard (26 January 1994). "4 Mass. pupils are US science contest finalists". Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  4. ^ Rosenblatt, Gary (12 September 2008). "A Lifelong Friend Who Challenged The Status Quo". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Newsmaker: Jessica Hammer". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 12 October 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  6. ^ Whitacre, Andrew (2012-01-25). "Podcast: Jessica Hammer, "What Games Mean (And How They Mean It)"".
  7. ^ "Jessica Hammer's Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).
  8. ^ Ryan, Janice Paul (30 May 2006). "Youngsters will Tech It UP at UWF camp this summer". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  9. ^ O'Leary, Amy (1 August 2012). "In Virtual Play, Sex Harassment Is All Too Real". New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Jessica Hammer". 26 May 2010.
  11. ^ "How hard is it to make a video game in 24 hours?". The Capital. AP. 19 March 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  12. ^ "In Ethiopia, one game design professor believes that young girls hold the key - Kill Screen". 3 July 2013.
  13. ^ "World Economic Forum Young Scientists 2014" (PDF).
  14. ^ Locke, John L. (1998). Why We Don 't Talk to Each Other Anymore: The De-Voicing of Society. Simon and Schuster. p. 82. ISBN 0684843331.
  15. ^ "Transformative Live-Action Role-Playing - Human-Computer Interaction Institute".
  16. ^ "Games for Pain - Human-Computer Interaction Institute".

External links[edit]