Karolien Poels is a professor of Strategic Communication and Persuasive Technologies at the Department of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp and member of the research group MIOS (Media & ICT in Organizations & Society).
Since 2018, she is the chair of the Department of Communication Studies. She holds a PhD in Social Sciences (Ghent University, 2007) and worked as a post doctoral researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology (2007-2009). Starting in the field of advertising research and emotions, her research has developed in wider, mainly ICT areas with a focus on online advertising and social media. She studies how individuals use and experience ICT and how these insights can be applied by organisations for persuasive communication (advertising, health promotion, corporate communication) and their relations with consumer/user protection and empowerment. The role of emotions in communication and how they interact with cognitive processes and behavior is central in her research interest and inspiration.
Currently, Karolien is actively involved in research on online (commercial) media environments and ‘complex’ communication: adolescents’ advertising literacy towards targeted online advertising, online ad tailoring: the role of acceptance and privacy concerns, transparency and effectiveness in the implementation of native advertising, sustainable advertising strategies for online news media, food advertising and online communication strategies. Another line of research involves persuasive technologies (serious games, reflective interfaces) to tackle online transgressive behavior or promote healthy (coping) behavior: serious games promoting positive bystander involvement in cyberbullying, automatic monitoring of sexual harassment on social media, online personal narratives and interface design targeted at adolescents’ mental wellbeing and persuasive context-based health communication.
Since February 2020, Karolien serves as the president of NeFCA (Netherlands-Flanders Communication Association): https://nefca.eu. She is also associate editor of the Journal of Media Psychology.