Carrie Heeter Ph.D.

Carrie Heeter

Professor Emeritus

  • Media & Information


I came to MSU as a freshman in 1974. My academic degrees include a Ph.D. in Mass Media (1986) and a BA in Communication (1982), both from Michigan State University. I was founding director of the Communication Technology Laboratory (1980 to 2005) which has transformed into the thriving GEL Lab (Games for Entertainment and Learning) lead by Brian Winn. Since 1997, I have lived in San Francisco and continued in my role as full time professor for MSU, using a wide range of technologies to “telerelate,” teach, and collaborate with my colleagues and students in Michigan and around the world. I design and study technology-enhanced experiences. I have designed and directed development of more than 50 interactive experiences including meditations, learning and cognitive games and other technology-enhanced learning experiences, interactive learning systems, and patient empowerment software. I have published more than 100 books, chapters, articles, and proceedings about individual and social impacts of interactive technology, gender and gaming, and playstyles and player types. Right now I am most interested in Innovative applications of technology for delivering and studying meditation experiences. One focus is on outcome-based meditation (including specific productivity, well-being, and health outcomes). I am also exploring the idea of meditation as meaningful play, including ways of combining meditation and gaming as well as transmedia meditation.


TC841: Understanding Users; TC830: Foundations of Serious Games


I am a Professor in the department of Media and Information at Michigan State University where I teach foundations of serious games and human-centered experience design courses and work with amazing students. I am also Director of MSU’s fully online graduate certificate in serious games.

Research and Teaching

Applications and effects of cybermeditation; cybermeditation for health and well-being; cybermeditation as meaningful play, mechanisms of meditation.

Research Centers and Labs

Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab

Recent Publications:

Heeter, C., Lehto, R.H., Allbritton, M., & Day, T., & Wiseman, M. (2017).  Effects of a Technology-Assisted Meditation Program on Healthcare Providers’ Interoceptive Awareness, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout.  Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, August, Volume 19, No 4.

Heeter, C. (2016).  A Meditation on Embodied Presence and Meditation.  Presence, Teleoperators, and Virtual Environments, 25:2, 175-183. [doi: 10.1162/PRES_a_00256]

Heeter, C., & Allbritton, M. (2015). Being There: Implications of Neuroscience and Meditation for Self-Presence in Virtual Worlds. Journal For Virtual Worlds Research8(2).

DNA Roulette
Carrie Heeter, J.D. Yaske, Barry Starr. Adapted roulette game mechanics convey an intuitive sense of what can be known about personal risk for disease conditions, traits, or drug response based on genetic testing, and how much chance and the environment play a role. Added as a permanent online exhibit to the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation’s Understanding Genetics web site.

Heeter, C. (1989). "Implications of New Interactive Technologies for Conceptualizing Communication." In Salvaggio, J and Bryant, J. (eds.) Media Use in the Information Age: Emerging Patterns of Adoption and Consumer Use. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp.217-235

Heeter, C. Being there: The subjective experience of presence. (1992). Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 01/1992; 1:262–271.

Lee, Yu-Hao, Heeter, C., Medler, B., and Magerko, B. (2011). Gaming mindsets: implicit theories in serious game learning. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 15(4):190-4.

Recent Grants:

CFIR grant A Cybermeditation Toolkit for Hospice and Palliative Caregivers

NSF grant (#0943064: Motivation and Serious Gaming)

Recent Awards:

My interactive projects have won at least 50 awards over the years. Two are most notable.

Most Innovative Game Meaningful Play conference October 2012
DNA Roulette was awarded most innovative game at the international Meaningful Play conference.

Software Innovation of the Year Award Discover Magazine January 1995
The Personal Communicator CD-ROM brought American Sign Language (ASL) communication capabilities to the desktop and notebook computer, one of the first applications to use a large database of QuickTime movies (signs) strung together in real time along with speech synthesis to “sign and speak” any English text. The Web Site provided an online ASL browser offering video of thousands of ASL signs. Funded by the National Department of Education

Graduate Fellow, National Science Foundation
National Merit Scholar

Current Creative/Research Work:

10 VR Meditation Experiences for the Guided Meditation VR platform, July 2016

You choose a natural environment. Then you choose a meditation. You are guided through steps involving breath, gentle movement, and attention to relax the body and calm the mind.  Each Mindtoon™ VR meditation supports experiencing and cultivating a particular quality: Calming, Stability, Nourishing, Releasing, Comfort, Spaciousness, Energizing, Focus, Clearing, Clarity

RelaxU Meditation App on iTunes Store and Google Play

6 ten-minute Mindtoon Meditations in the tradition of yoga for healing: CalmingPlace in NatureComfortReleasingClarity,  and Stability meditations.  RelaxU is available for free on Google Play and the iTunes Store.  Search for “Mindtoon Lab” (in quotes), then scroll down to locate the RelaxUapp.


Contact Information

404 Wilson Rd.
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University