Education: State University of New York at Geneseo, B.A., 1992; Syracuse University, M.A., 1995, Ph.D., 1998.
Office—Communication Department, Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts, 240 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9278. E-mail—[email protected]
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, research assistant for Dr. George A. Comstock, 1995-98; State University of New York at Geneseo, department of communication, assistant professor, 1998-99; University of Massachusetts at Amherst, department of communication, assistant professor, 1999-2005, associate professor, 2005—. Worked variously as a stringer reporter, River Reporter newspaper, Narrowsburg, NY, 1992; news director, WDNH-FM and WWCC-AM, Honesdale, PA, 1992; copy writer, WGGY-FM, WKRZ-FM, and WILK-AM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA, 1993; disc jockey, WCGR-AM, Canandaigua, NY, 1994.
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Broadcast Education Association, International Communication Association, Massachusetts Society of Professors, board member, 2006—, Steering Committee, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Families, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2003—.
(With George A. Comstock) Television: What's On, Who's Watching, and What It Means, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 1999.
(With George A. Comstock) The Psychology of Media and Politics, Elsevier Academic Press (Burlington, MA), 2005.
(With George A. Comstock) Media and the American Child, Elsevier Academic Press (Burlington, MA), 2007.
Contributor to various journals and publications, including Electronic Journal of Communication, Journalism Studies, Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, and Mass Communication and Society.
Erica Scharrer serves as an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, teaching in the department of communication. An expert on media and its effects on viewers, particularly children, she focuses on how levels of aggression and socialization can be determined in part by what a person views on television and in film. Her research interests also extend toward how violence and gender are portrayed in the media. She has written several books with George A. Comstock, including Television: What's On, Who's Watching, and What It Means, The Psychology of Media and Politics, and Media and the American Child.
Television addresses the role of the medium in the typical individual's daily life, particularly how its influence has grown over the past several decades and the viewing of programs has become more and more accepted as a pastime. Advertising has morphed, as well, using different techniques of persuasion to convey sales messages to viewers. Violence has become more prevalent across the board, and it is believed that this alteration in viewing content has spilled over into society, affecting the ways in which people interact. The Psychology of Media and Politics looks at the way in which media has become an accepted and trusted source of knowledge, to the point that viewers will accept what they hear from a television personality over what their own instincts tell them. This influence can extend from what products a person buys to what candidate one votes for in a major election and how one behaves overall. Scharrer and Comstock address how this influence has grown in recent years and the effect it has on society. Media and the American Child focuses in particular on the effects of television on children and their behavior and development. This pertains to body image, sexual behavior, tendencies toward violence, and ability to socialize.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1999, P.E. Kane, review of Television: What's On, Who's Watching, and What It Means, p. 322.
Elsevier Web site,http://www.elsevier.com/ (February 10, 2008), publisher's listings.
University of Massachusetts Web site,http://www.umass.edu/ (February 10, 2008), faculty profile.