Mary Beth Oliver

Media Studies

Mary Beth Oliver

Donald P. Bellisario Professor of Media Studies / Co-Director of Media Effects Research Laboratory

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  • Emotional and Cognitive Effects of Media
  • Positive Media Psychology
  • Media Portrayals
  • Stereotyping


  • Bachelor's: Virginia Tech
  • Master's: Wisconsin
  • Ph.D.: Wisconsin



Mary Beth Oliver is the Donald P. Bellisario Professor of Media studies at Penn State in the Department of Film/ Production and Media Studies and Fellow and Immediate Past President of the International Communication Association. Her recent publications on have appeared such journals as the Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, and Communication Research, among others. She is former co-editor of Media Psychology and associate editor of the Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, and Journal of Media Psychology. She is a co-editor of several books, including Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research and co-author of the recently published Introduction to Positive Media Psychology.


In the News


Edited Books

Oliver, M. B., Raney, A. A., & Bryant, J. (Eds.) (2020). Media effects: Advances in theory and research (4th ed.), New York: Routledge.

Reinecke, L., & Oliver, M. B. (2017). Handbook of media use and well-being: International perspectives on theory and research on positive media effects. New York: Routledge.

Oliver, M. B., & Raney, A. (Eds.) (2014). Media and social life. New York: Routledge.

Nabi, R., & Oliver, M. B. (Eds.) (2009) Handbook of media processes and effects. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bryant, J., & Oliver, M. B. (Eds.) (2008). Media effects: Advances in theory and research (3rd ed.), New York: Routledge.

Co-Authored Books

Raney, A. A., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., Oliver, M. B., & Dale, K. R. (2020). Introduction to positive media psychology. New York: Routledge.

Journal Articles (Since 2010)

Oliver, M. B., Raney, A. A., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., Dale, K. R., Appel, M., & Bartsch, A. (in press). Model of media inspiration. Journal of Media Psychology.

Dale, K. R., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., Raney, A. A., Oliver, M. B., Huse, L.-K., Lopez, J., . . . Zhao, D. (2020). Awe and stereotypes: Examining awe as an intervention against stereotypical media portrayals of African Americans. Communication Studies, 71(4), 699-707.

Bartsch, A., Scherr, S., Mares, M.-L., & Oliver, M. B. (2020). Reflective thoughts about violent media content–development of a bilingual self-report scale in English and German. Media Psychology, 23(6), 794-819.

Fryburg, D. A., Ureles, S. D., Myrick, J. G., Carpentier, F. D., & Oliver, M. B. (2020). Kindness media rapidly inspires viewers and increases happiness, calm, gratitude, and generosity in a healthcare setting. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

Dale, K. R., Raney, A. A., Ji, Q., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., Baldwin, J., Rowlett, J. T., . . . Oliver, M. B. (2020). Self-transcendent emotions and social media: Exploring the content and consumers of inspirational Facebook posts. New Media & Society, 22(3), 507-527.

Oliver, M. B., Bilandzic, H., Cohen, J., Ferchaud, A., Shade, D. D., Bailey, E. J., & Yang, C. (2019). A penchant for the immoral: Implications of parasocial interaction, perceived complicity, and identification on liking of anti-heroes. Human Communication Research, 45, 169-201. doi:10.1093/hcr/hqy019

Cohen, J., Oliver, M. B., & Bilandzic, H. (2019). The differential effects of direct address on parasocial experience and identification: Empirical evidence for conceptual difference. Communication Research Reports, 36, 78-83. doi:10.1080/08824096.2018.1530977

Ellithorpe, M. E., Huang, Y., & Oliver, M. B. (2019), Reach Across the Aisle: Elevation From Political Messages Predicts Increased Positivity Toward Politics, Political Participation, and the Opposite Political Party, Journal of Communication, 69, 249–272.

Krämer, N., Neubaum, G., Winter, S., Schaewitz, L., Eimler, S. C., & Oliver, M. B. (2019). I feel what they say: The effect of social media comments on viewers’ affective reactions toward elevating online videos. Media Psychology, 1-27. doi: 10.1080/15213269.2019.1692669

Markey, P. M., Ivory, J. D., Slotter, E. B., Oliver, M. B., & Maglalang, O. (2019). He does not look like video games made him do it: Racial stereotypes and school shootings. Psychology of Popular Media Culture. doi:

Bartsch, A., Scherr, S., Mares, M. L. & Oliver, M. B. (2019) Reflective thoughts about violent media content – development of a bilingual self-report scale in English and German, Media Psychology, doi: 10.1080/15213269.2019.1647248

Ji, Q., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., De Leeuw, R. N. H., & Oliver, M. B. (2019) The melody to inspiration: The effects of awe-eliciting music on approach motivation and positive well-being, Media Psychology, doi: 10.1080/15213269.2019.1693402

Slater, M.D, Appel, M., & Oliver, M. B. (2019). Poignancy and mediated wisdom of experience: Narrative impacts on willingness to accept delayed rewards. Communication Research. 46, 333-354. doi: 10.1177/0093650215623838

Ji, Q., Raney, A. A., Janicke-Bowles, S. H., Dale, K. R., Oliver, M. B., Reed, A., . . . Raney, A. A. (2019). Spreading the good news: Analyzing socially shared inspirational news content. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1077699018813096

Tang, Y., Dou, X., & Oliver, M. B. (2018). "Harmonious middle kingdom and dangerous beautiful country?” Exploring cultivation effects of domestic and U.S.-made tv programs on chinese college students. International Journal of Communication, 12, 4421–4442.

Bartsch, A., Oliver, M. B., Nitsch, C., & Scherr, S. (2018). Inspired by the Paralympics: Effects of empathy on audience interest in para-sports and on the destigmatization of persons with disabilities. Communication Research, 45, 525-533. doi:10.1177/0093650215626984

Rieger, D., Frischlich, L., & Oliver, M. B. (2018). Meaningful entertainment experiences and self-transcendence: Cultural variations shape elevation, values, and moral intentions. International Communication Gazette, 80, 658-676. doi:10.1177/1748048518802218

Raney, A. A., Janicke, S. H., Oliver, M. B., Dale, K. R., Jones, R. P., & Cox, D. (2018). Profiling the audience for self-transcendent media: A national survey. Mass Communication and Society, 21, 296-319. doi:10.1080/15205436.2017.1413195

Slater, M. D., Oliver, M. B., Appel, M., Tchernev, J. M., & Silver, N. A. (2017). Mediated wisdom of experience revisited: Delay discounting, acceptance of death, and closeness to future self. Human Communication Research, 44(1), 80-101.

Schneider, F. M., Bartsch, A., & Oliver, M. B. (2017). Factorial validity and measurement invariance of the appreciation, fun, and suspense scales across us-American and German samples. Journal of Media Psychology.

Das, E., Nobbe, T., & Oliver, M. B. (2017). Health communication


Mary Beth Oliver
213 Carnegie Building