Karolien Poels

Health Narratives


Karolien Poels

Associate Professor
Universiteit van Antwerpen


Karolien Poels is an associate professor of strategic communication at Department of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp, Belgium. She is a member of the research group MIOS (Media & ICT in Organizations & Society). She holds an MA (2000) in Communication Studies and a PhD (2007) in Social Sciences, both from Ghent University. From 2007-2009 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Human Technology Interaction Group of Eindhoven University of Technology where she was involved in the FUGA-project (EU-FP6).


Karolien’s main research topics include: 1) advertising and consumer psychology and 2) digital games. Emotions are integrated in (a substantial part) her studies.
In her doctoral research, titled “The Heart of Advertising”, she studied the role of emotions in advertising processing and how emotions can be validly measured in an advertising/consumer context. She later applied this knowledge to the field of digital gaming.
Her gaming research is focused on player emotions and experiences in relation to game evaluations and preferences, player involvement and in-game advertising. She published internationally about this topic and has participated in many international conferences and workshops. She is also co-founder and member of the executive board of DiGRA Flanders.

Together with Heidi Vandebosch, she is supervising the Friendly ATTAC project (IWT SBO) in which a serious game targeted at bystanders of cyberbullying is being developed and further knowledge on the integration of digital games in changing behavior is being created. She is further involved in the AMiCA project (IWT SBO) in which the goal is to automatically monitor transgressive behavior on social networking sites.
Recently she started to integrate the study of social media, the Internet and virtual worlds in her research. Topics include: ad tailoring, crisis communication through social media and virtual stores. She supervises doctoral theses on these topics.

Karolien Poels teaches Communication Management at the bachelor level and Consumer Psychology and Effectiveness Research of Strategic Communication at the master level. She is chair of the exam committee of the Bachelor in Political and Social Sciences.

Karolien Poels is a member of the Young Academy of Flanders in which she is involved in the working group Science Communication. She also serves as a board member of the Persuasive Communication division of the Netherlands-Flanders Communication Association (NeFCA).


Advertising, Digital games, Emotions, Social networking sites, Virtual worlds.

Key publications

Poels, K., IJsselsteijn, W. A., & de Kort, Y. A. W. (2014). World of Warcraft, the Aftermath: How Game Elements Transfer into Perceptions, Associations and (Day)dreams in the Everyday Life of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game Players. New Media & Society: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1177/1461444814521596 .

Poels, K., Janssens, W. & Herrewijn, L. (2013). Play Buddies or Space Invaders? Players’ Attitudes towards In-Game Advertising. Journal of Advertising, 42(2/3), 204-218.

Poels, K., Van den Hoogen, W.M., IJsselsteijn, W.A, de Kort, Y.A.W. (2012). Pleasure to play, arousal to stay. The effect of player emotions on digital game preferences and playing time. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(1), 1-6.

Poels, K. & Dewitte, S. (2008). Getting a line on print ads. Pleasure and arousal reactions reveal an implicit advertising mechanism. Journal of Advertising, 37(4), 63-74.

Poels, K. & Dewitte, S. (2008). Hope and self-regulatory goals applied to a marketing context. Promotion prevention stimulates goal-directed behavior. Journal of Business Research, 61(10), 1030-1040.

Poels, K. & Dewitte, S. (2006). How to capture the heart? Reviewing 20 years of emotion measurement in advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, 46(1), 18-37.