Bruce D. Homer, Professor of Educational Psychology

Bruce D. Homer, Professor of Educational Psychology

Bahcesehir University, Istanbul (2010).

Statement of Research

Dr. Homer is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the Learning, Development and Instruction subprogram. He is the director of the Child Interactive Learning and Development (CHILD) Lab at the Graduate Center. His research examines how children acquire and use “cultural tools” to store and transmit knowledge (e.g., language, literacy, and digital technologies), and how these tools transform developmental and learning processes. Dr. Homer has a number of currently active lines of research that are briefly outlined below. (A current list of publications can be found here: Google Scholar Profile.


Videogames for Learning

One area of research is on the development and use of videogames for learning. In this work, Dr. Homer and his collaborators have been investigating how different design patterns in games affect student learning and motivation. They have also been researching ways of embedding assessment into educational games to provide to students and educators. This work is primarily conducted as part of the Games for Learning Institute, an interdisciplinary, cross-university research institute, in collaboration with colleagues from the CREATE lab at NYU. Ongoing research with Dr. Jan Plass (NYY) and Rich Mayer (UCSB) this is supported by a grant from the Institute for Educational Sciences, is examining the use of focused computer games to support the development of executive functions in adolescents

Sample Publications:

Plass, J.L., Homer, B.D., & Kinzer, C.K. (2015). Foundations of Game-based Learning, Educational Psychologist, 50(4), 258-283.

Homer, B. D., Kinzer, C. K., Plass, J. L., Letourneau, S. M., Hoffman, D., Bromley, M., … & Kornak, Y. (2014). Moved to learn: The effects of interactivity in a Kinect-based literacy game for beginning readers. Computers & Education, 74, 37-49.

Homer, B.D., Hayward, E.O., Frye, J. & Plass, J.L. (2012). Gender and Player Characteristics in Video Game Play of Preadolescents. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(5), 1782-1789.


Language, Cognition & Symbolic Understanding

A second area of research investigates language, literacy and developmental influences on children’s symbolic abilities, including Theory of Mind. Dr. Homer and his students have been investigating the role of language in young children’s development of symbolic understanding. Other related research includes studies on the relation between literacy and children’s understanding of language, and research on cultural and biological influences on children and adults’ theory of mind.

Sample Publications:

Hayward, E.O. & Homer, B.D. (in press). Reliability and validity of advanced theory-of-mind measures in middle childhood and adolescence. British Journal of Developmental Psychology

Hayward, E.O., Homer, B.D. & Sprung, M. (2016). Developmental Trends in Flexibility and Automaticity of Social Cognition. Child Development.

Homer, B.D., Petroff, N., & Hayward, E. O. (2013). Linguistic Mediation of Children’s Performance in a New Symbolic Understanding Task. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14(3), 455-466. doi:10.1080/15248372.2012.689268  

Homer, B.D., Halkitis, P. N., Moeller, R.W., & Solomon, T. M. (2013). Methamphetamine Use and HIV in Relation to Impaired Social Cognition. Journal of health psychology, 18(7), 900-910.


Multimedia Learning Environments

A final line of research involves investigating ways to enhance online learning. Much of this work has been through the Molecules and Minds project, with Catherine Milne, Jan Plass and Trace Jordan, researching the design and effective use of computer-based chemistry simulations. His work in this area investigates how cognitive abilities and prior knowledge affect students’ interactions with and learning from multimedia environments. Ongoing work is investigating the role of “emotional design” in multimedia, and effects of individual differences, such as executive functions.

Sample Publications:

Homer, B. D., & Plass, J. L. (2014). Level of interactivity and executive functions as predictors of learning in computer-based chemistry simulations. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 365-375.

O’Keefe, P. A., Letourneau, S. M., Homer, B. D., Schwartz, R. N., & Plass, J. L. (2014). Learning from multiple representations: An examination of fixation patterns in a science simulation. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 234-242.
Plass, J.L., Heidig, S., Hayward, E. O., Homer, B. D., & Um, E. (2014). Emotional design in multimedia learning: Effects of shape and color on affect and learning. Learning and Instruction, 29, 128-140.

Lee, H., Plass, J.L., & Homer, B.D. (2006). Optimizing cognitive load for learning from computer-based science simulations. Journal of Educational Psychology. 902-913.



Courses Taught:

Cognitive Development and Learning Processes in Education
Language and Communication Development
Seminar in Communication and Cognitive Development
Advanced Seminar in Communication and Cognitive Development

A Few Past Talks:

Homer, B.D. (2017, June). Using Video Games to Enhance Executive Functions Across the Lifespan. Invited symposium at Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society.

Homer, B.D. (2017, March). Using Developmental Theory to Design and Evaluate Games for Learning. Talk given at the Center for Children and Technology, New York, NY.

Homer, B.D. & Eckersall, P. (2016, December). Children, Technology & Robots: Comparative perspectives on humans and technology. Joint talk given as part of the Faculty Shorts Conversation Series, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Homer, B.D. (2016, May). Games as Motivated Learning. Talk given at Drawing Ed: Keeping Enthusiasm Alive conference. Madrid, Spain.

Talks available online…


Dr. Homer participated in a panel with other members of the Games for Learning Institute to discuss Utilizing Digital Games for Learning as part of the Washington Education Innovation Forums.

Google Tech Talk: Video Games and the Future of Learning

Media Coverage:

Dr. Homer appear as a guest on NPR’s Science Friday to discuss “Can Video Games be Used as Teaching Tools?”
The research of Dr. Homer and his colleagues research appeared in a Forbes article on “Gamification in Education”