|Residence||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA|
Carnegie Mellon University,|
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
She earned her B.A. at Harvard University, her MS from the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program and her Ph.D. in cognitive studies at Columbia University, where she developed the game design course sequence and was a founding member of the Teachers College EGGPLANT game research laboratory.
Hammer's research focuses on the psychology of games, focusing on the way specific game design decisions affect how players think and feel. Her larger research interests include creativity, gender, mobile technologies, and community design, with a specific focus on how games can change the way people think, feel, and behave.
While a graduate student at Columbia, Hammer helped create Lit, a mobile game designed to help individuals quit smoking. Hammer has worked on video games for the National Institute of Health and for Nokia.
She also spent time in Ethiopia, working with local partners to create game clubs that help girls acquire the social capital and the skills they need to solve their problems for themselves. In 2014 she was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist.
In his 1998 book, Why We Don 't Talk to Each Other Anymore: The De-Voicing of Society, biolinguist John L. Locke discusses the research produced by Hammer as a young researcher working with Simon Baron-Cohen. According to Locke, Baron-Cohen and Hammer, found that the parents of individuals with Asberger's syndrome did less well than the general population on tasks involving the interpretation of emotional status of others by looking at the expression of their eyes, and better than the general population at identifying shapes embedded within complex designs.
Since 2014, Hammer's recent projects include exploring live action role-playing games as a potential avenue for improving mental or physical health, and conducting research on how games may reduce opioid abuse after work-related injuries.
Currently, Hammer is also teaching courses related to Game Design and Learning Media at Carnegie Mellon University.