Description of Proposed Graduate-Level Courses


Com Arts 612:  Special Topics: Media Use and Prosocial Outcomes

Can images, narratives, songs, and games help make us kinder, more compassionate, more humane individuals?  What does research tell us about the processes involved, the developmental trajectory of responses, and the reasons why interventions fail or succeed?  Topics include research on the development of empathy, perspective taking, and moral reasoning, ethical dilemmas about what sorts of media interventions are appropriate, explanations for unsuccessful interventions, and research on what works best in early childhood, middle-school years, and in adolescence and beyond.


HDFS 766: Media, Learning, and Cognitive Development

This graduate seminar examines child development in the context of screen media (primarily television and video games). A primary focus of the course is how research/theory can inform the production of educationally valuable programs for informal learning during early childhood. Topics include the following: how children use, understand, and respond to television and video games; the effects of screen media on cognitive development; and the application of theory and research to media production, policy and intervention.


J899: Media Violence and Human Development

This course is designed to provide an in-depth look into the topic of violent media and its effects on audiences across the lifespan. This course will focus on the psychological processes through which violent media impact individuals’ thoughts, attitudes, emotions, behaviors, and physiology. Our purpose is to explore the major theoretical perspectives pertaining to the social and psychological effects of violent media on viewers – with an emphasis on children and adolescents. We will also explore the reasons why children, adolescents, and adults select and attend to violent media. After reviewing the empirical literature on violent media effects, we will end the semester by discussing implications for policy, the industry, and in-home family practices regarding family media use. This class will focus on research conducted within a social scientific framework.