Media Effects Research Lab

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Headshot of S. Shyam Sundar

S. Shyam Sundar

Distinguished Professor / Co-Director, Media Effects Research Laboratory, Advertising/Public Relations, Media Studies
Founding Director, Media Effects Research Lab

S. Shyam Sundar is the founding director of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on mass-communication theory, psychology of communication theory and research methodology. His research investigates social and psychological effects of technological elements unique to web-based mass-communication. In particular, his studies investigate the effects of interactivity, navigability, multi-modality and agency in web interfaces upon online users' thoughts, emotions and actions.

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Mary Beth Oliver

Distinguished Professor / Co-Director of Media Effects Research Laboratory, Media Studies

Mary Beth Oliver is the co-director of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on media effects, communication research, quantitative research methods and interpersonal communication. She specializes in media and psychology, focusing on both the psychological effects of media, and on viewers' attraction to or enjoyment of media content. Her research includes studies pertaining to media violence, reality-based television programs, gender differences in enjoyment of media entertainment, viewers' responses to melodramas and sad films and media potrayals of racial groups and the effect of such potrayals on viewers' racial attitudes.

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Headshot of <p>Lee</p> Ahern

Lee Ahern

Associate Professor, Advertising/Public Relations
Faculty Affiliate, Media Effects Research Lab

Lee Ahern is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab. He teaches introduction to advertising, research methods and media planning. His current research focuses on the description, analysis and ethics of strategic messages, primarily in the context of environmental and health communications. In particular, he has explored psychological effects and cognitive processing implications of different environmental message factors. In an international context, Ahern also studies the roles of culture and media system development on environmental attitudes and behaviors. Ahern's work has been published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and Health Communication. In 2007, Ahern received the Betsy Plank Graduate Student Research Award, which is presented annually at the Public Relations Society of America International Conference. He has presented multiple papers at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference. He is the current Research Chair for the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division of AEJMC.

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Frank Dardis

Associate Professor , Advertising/Public Relations
Faculty Affiliate, Media Effects Research Lab

Frank Dardis is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on strategic communication, advertising and marketing, and advertising / public relations research methods. His research focuses on the psychological and persuasive effects that informational messages have on people. Specifically, he has examined message framing, media framing, advocacy appeals, sponsorship messages, and repeated message exposures within both sociopolitical and marketing / consumer-related contexts. He has investigated message effects regarding sociopolitical topics such as social movement organizations, war protest, environmentalism, capital punishment and political apathy. His consumer-oriented research focuses on the impact of advertising messages on individuals' information processing and brand / corporate attitudes. In addition to regularly presenting his research at major academic conferences, he has published articles in journals such as Mass Communication and Society, International Communication Gazette, Communication Quarterly, Journal of Political Marketing and Journal of Consumer Behavior.

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Headshot of <p>Dennis</p> Davis

Dennis Davis

Professor Emeritus, Media Studies
Faculty Affiliate, Media Effects Research Lab

Dennis Davis is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab. His teaching and research interests focus on mass communication theory, new media literacy, international communication, research methods, and political communications. He has served as a tenured full professor at Cleveland State University, Southern Illinois University and the University of North Dakota. He was director of the School of Communication at the University of North Dakota and has served as editor of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, published by the Broadcast Education Association. He is a member of the editorial review board for the Journal of Communication and Communication Quarterly. He regularly reviews research for several other journals, including the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media and Political Communication. He has co-authored four books on political communication, mass communication theory and news audience research. He has published 15 book chapters, 13 journal articles and 11 book reviews, and has presented more than 50 research papers at state, regional and national meetings. He has headed divisions of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the National Communication Association. His research has won the Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Policy Research from Fordham University and the Broadcasting Preceptor Award from San Francisco State University.

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Michael Schmierbach

Associate Professor , Media Studies
Faculty Affiliate, Media Effects Research Lab

Michael Schmierbach is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on media effects, political communication, quantitative research methods, and video game effects. His research focuses on individuals' perceptions of media and the role of media exposure in shaping those perceptions. Specifically, he has conducted research exploring how enjoyment of video games is influenced by interface and control schemes, multi-player game modes, perceptions of game difficulty, and other game characteristics. In addition, he has studied 3rd-person perceptions as they relate to video games, and information-seeking in regards to news and political coverage. He has presented his research at various academic conferences, and has published articles in several journals, including Mass Communication and Society, Communication Research, Journal of Communication, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

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Headshot of Fuyuan Shen

Fuyuan Shen

Head of the Department of Advertising/Public Relations, Professor, Advertising/Public Relations
Faculty Affiliate, Media Effects Research Lab

Fuyuan Shen is a faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab and teaches courses on media planning, advertising campaigns, strategic communications, and research methods. He conducts research on advertising, health communication, and political communication. His research integrates theories in social psychology, cultural psychology, and communications to explore the effects of media messages. He has previously studied how advertising and health message frames interacted with individual differences in changing attitudes towards brands, issues, and other behavioral, cognitive, and affective responses. He has also conducted research exploring the impact of political advertising, and news framing of social and political issues. He has published numerous articles in journals such as International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Communication, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, and Mass Communication and Society.

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Bu Zhong

Associate Professor, Journalism
Faculty Affiliate, Media Effects Research Lab

Bu Zhong, an assistant professor, senior research fellow of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, and faculty affiliate of the Media Effects Research Lab, teaches TV news reporting, news media ethics, international mass communications and world media systems. His research concentrates on decision making, social networking, media ethics and judgment in consuming and producing news and sports information. His work has been published in Journal of Communication, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Newspaper Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist and International Journal of Sports Communication. Before he joined the Penn State faculy, he had more than 10 years of work experience at CNN Washington Bureau in D.C., CNN Center in Atlanta, and China Daily in Beijing.

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Student Researchers

Jose Aviles

Jose earned his bachelor of arts in psychology at Bard College. Following completion of his bachelor’s degree, he spent two years working as a research assistant at Yale University for the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) partnership. In 2013, he completed his master’s degree in communication at the College of Charleston.

While at Penn State, Jose has continued to explore media effects, positive uses of video games, virtual embodiment, group interaction, and stereotypes and prejudice. His dissertation will focus on exposure to and interactions with raced avatars to examine their influence on real-world racial attitudes. Jose currently teaches Gender, Diversity, and the Media and is interested in teaching classes in the area of media effects, research methods, and intergroup communication.

Erica Bailey

Her research interests include media effects, emotion and media selection. Her dissertation will explore how co-viewing influences media experiences.

Eugene Cho

While research projects during her master's training centered on socio-psychological effects of using social media, Eugene’s academic interests are also widely open to various forms of media effects caused by digital media usage.

Pratiti Diddi

Her research interests focus on understanding the psychological effects and cognitive processing implications of media messages in improving public health.

Sara Erlichman

Her research interests focus on how and why individuals develop parasocial relationships, and how it can be used for prosocial causes.

Arienne Ferchaud

Her research interests include new media entertainment, tackling phenomena including relationships in user-generated content, binge watching, and a continued focus on entertainment narratives.

Andrew Gambino

His research is situated in the fields of communication and technology, human-computer interaction, and computer-mediated communication. Specifically, he is interested in the relationships people form with their devices.

Yan Huang

Yan’s research examines the persuasive impact of message and technological factors in the health, risk, crisis and advertising contexts.

Jin Kang

Her research interest is in self-representation in virtual environments. She would like to examine how a user’s interaction with virtual avatar may affect their offline cognition, behavior, and affect.

Jinyoung Kim

Her research interests include persuasive effect of online media (e.g., web sites, social media) on informing the public of accurate health-related information and on changing people’s risky health behaviors (e.g., smoking, obesity).

Sushma Kumble

She is interested in studying the interactions of message features and positive emotions, and their impact on attitudes (both implicit and explicit) and behavior in health and prosocial behavior contexts

Ruobing Li

Ruobing focuses on media effects research, primarily persuasion and health communication.

Bingjie Liu

Her research interests are the effects of new technologies on human psychology, such as psychological well-being, cognition and attribution processes in the context of social media, etc.

Maria Molina Davila

Her research interests include the acculturation process of international students as well as on selective exposure and mediated communication, and media effects on immigration.

Ruoxu Wang

Her primary research interests lie in the intersection of media effects and persuasion under the context of strategic communication and communication technology.

Jinping Wang

Her research interests include the effects of web-based communication and studying users’ engagement in online expression, discussion and other forms of interactive activities

Anli Xiao

Her interests include how social media and applications mediate public relations outcomes for such groups; to see how social media and applications affect the legitimacy and efficacy of these organizations’ initiatives, and more.

Chun Yang

Chun’s research focuses on narratives and persuasion. He is interested in the emotional and cognitive impact of media messages, the role of emotion and other message features in persuasion, and media stereotypes.

Penn State Alumni Associated with Media effects research lab

Erin Ash

Assistant professor at Clemson University, Clemson, SC. 

Saras Bellur

Assistant professor in the College of Liberal arts and Science, University of Connecticut. 

Bimal Balakrishnan

Aassistant professor at University of Missouri, Columbia. 

Tayo Banjo

Assistant professor at University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Corina Constantin

is a vice president of Media Analytics, PHD, in New York, NY.

Yuki Dou

Assistant professor at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.

Edward Downs

Assistant professor at University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN. 

Nokon Heo

Assistant professor at University of Central Arkansas, Conway. 

Yifeng Hu

Assistant professor at The College of New Jersey, Ewing. 

Sriram Kalyanaraman

Assistant professor at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Hyunjin Kang

Assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Guan-Soon Khoo

Assistant professor at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. 

Jinhee Kim

Assistant professor at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH.

Ki Joon Kim

Assistant professor at City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Youjeong Kim

Associate professor at New York Institute of Technology, New York. 

Hyang-Sook Kim

Assistant professor at Towson Universoty, Towson, MD.

Yoon-Jeon Koh

Vice president of Product Business Unit, Telecom & Convergence Business Group, KT in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Maja Krakowiak

Associate professor at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO. 

Sang Lee

Associate professor in and serves as chair of the strategic communications program at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. 

Sangki Lee

Associate professor at Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, Arkansas. 

Anthony M. Limperos

Assistant professor in the Division of Instructional Communication & Research at the University of Kentucky. 

Sampada Marathe

User experience researcher, Ericsson, Inc., Lowell, MA

John McGrath

Associate professor at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA. 

Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch

Aassistant professor in the College of Liberal arts and Science, University of Connecticut. 

Jeeyun Oh

Assistant professor at University of Texas, Austin, TX.

Srividya Ramasubramanian

Associateprofessor at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. 

Meghan Sanders

Associate professor at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. 

Marc Seamon

Assistant professor at Youngstown State University, Youngstown. 

Carmen Stavrositu

Associate professor at University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. 

Mina Tsay-Vogel

Assistant professor at Boston University, Boston, MA. 

Julia Woolley

Assistant professor of Communication Studies at California Polytechnic State University. 

Qian Xu

Associate professor at Elon University, Elon.