Erica Scharrer

Erica Scharrer

Professor and Chair of Communication

401 Machmer Hall

(413) 545-6339


My research interests involve the study of media content, opinions of media, media effects, and media literacy, particularly regarding gender and violence. My work has appeared in Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and Media Psychology. I've co-authored three books with first author, George Comstock, including Media and the American Child (Elsevier, 2007) in which we provide a critical synthesis and review of the children and media literature. My edited collection Media Effects/Media Psychology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), part of the International Encyclopledia of Media Studies, provides a state-of-the-art review of the field. Particular emphases in my work include media depictions of masculinity, the third-person effect and other opinions about media influence, and the effectiveness of media literacy curricula.


PhD, Syracuse University


Courses Taught:

Undergraduate: Social Impact of Media; Children, Teens, and Media; Media Ethics; Media Violence. Graduate: Quantitative Methods; Media Literacy; Media Effects


Media Effects/Media Psychology, Volume 5. A. Valdivia, general editor. The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies. Boston, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

"Media exposure and sensitivity to violence in news reports. Evidence of desensitization? Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 85(2), 291-310, 2008.

with co-author Ron Leone. "First-person shooters and third-person effects: Early adolescents' perceptions of video game influence." Human Communication Research, 34(2), 210-233. 2008.

with co-authors Andrea Bergstrom, Angela Paradise, and Qianqing Ren. Laughing to keep from crying: Humor and aggression in television commercial content. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(4), 615-634. 2006.

"'I noticed more violence:' The effects of a media literacy program on knowledge and attitudes about media violence." Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 21(1), 70-87. 2006.

"Should we be concerned about media violence?" In Sharon R. Mazzarella (Ed.), 20 Questions about Youth and the Media. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 117-134. 2007.

"Measuring the effects of a media literacy program on conflict and violence," Journal of Media Literacy Education, 1(1). 2009.

with co-author Lisa Wortman-Raring. A media literacy curriculum on violence in the US: Studying young people’s written responses for evidence of learning. Journal of Children and Media, 6(3), 351-366, 2012.

"More than 'just the facts'? Portrayals of masculinity in police and detective programs over time," Howard Journal of Communications, 23, 1-21. 2012.


Current work includes an experiment examining responses to images of injury in news coverage of war, an analysis of gendered forms of aggression in reality television, and an assessment of young people's responses to a media literacy curriculum on gender and violence.