Invited Speakers



Dr. James Blascovich
University of California, Santa Barbara

“The Threshold Model of Social Influence in Virtual Reality”

Dr. Blascovich will review the nature of reality, distinguishing between “grounded” and “virtual” reality and the history of the latter. The main focus will be on the threshold model and the major theoretical axes of  social influence in virtual reality.

James Blascovich is  Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and co-founder and Director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at UCSB. He is a past president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. He is  author of the book Infinite Reality with Jeremy Bailenson published in 2012. He also created the “Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat,” a motivational model, and developed and validated its neurophysiological indexes.


Mark Walsh
Pixar Animation Studios & Motional Entertainment

“Virtual Character: How character techniques from studios like Pixar can be used to create empathy, connection, and humor”

Creator of Pixar’s Partysaurus Rex, Mark is a writer-director-animator with 20 years’ experience supervising animation of movies like Finding Nemo and Ratatouille, and contributing to The IncrediblesMonsters IncA Bug’s LifeToy Story 2Toy Story 3Toy Story That Time ForgotPrestoUp, & The Good Dinosaur.  He has directed ads for Visa, Target, Aflac, Sky, Peugeot, and various Pixar films.  Mark now runs Motional Entertainment, the recent creator of the Gary the Gull, the first interactive character in Virtual Reality.  Mark is passionate about bringing quality, character-based entertainment to new media.