Marie-Louise Mares

Communication Science




6140 Vilas Hall

Professor Marie-Louise Mares

Office Hours:

  • Monday 12 – 1 PM in my office
  • Friday 3 – 4 pm zoom online no appointment needed
  • Friday 4 – 5 pm zoom online, sign up on Calendly.
  • See Canvas for links for zoom and Calendly.

Current and Future Projects

  • Media use and identity development, including family dynamics with regard to children’s and teens’ developing identities.
  • Prosocial and educational media use and interpretations.
  • Life-span developmental changes in media use and responses
  • Social media systems/interventions to support individuals with chronic health conditions

Expertise and Activities

Developmental media effects: children, aging, educational television, emotional responses. In my research on children, I am particularly interested in the possibility that television and other media can be used for positive social change, including reducing prejudice. To that end, I have been examining children’s comprehension and interpretations of prosocial and educational programs and ways to make such programming more effective. In my research on adults, I have been interested in examining what it is about aging that might cause changes in media use and effects. I am currently studying how the emotional experiences we seek out via media use vary across the adult life span.


  • Top 4 Paper Conference Theme Aging Across the Life Span, ICA, 2015
  • Top Paper Award, with Nicole Martins, Mona Macalane, and Alanna Peebles, ICA, Children and Media Division, 2014
  • Best Article Award, with Michael T. Braun, ICA, Children and Media Division, 2014
  • Fellowship, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), 2012


  • 2014. ““Vámonos means go, but that’s made up for the show” Preschool viewers’ interpretations of cultural depictions in TV programming.”Developmental Psychology, 50, 2498-2511.
  • 2014. “Making sense of violence: Perceived meaningfulness as a predictor of audience interest in violent media content.” Journal of Communication, 64, 956-976.
  • 2013. “Effects of Sesame Street: A meta-analysis of children’s learning in 15 countries.” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34, 140-151.
  • 2012. “Pessimism and anxiety: Effects of tween sitcoms on expectations and feelings about peer relationships in school.” Media Psychology, 15, 121-147.
  • 2012. “Pessimism and anxiety: Effects of tween sitcoms on expectations and feelings about peer relationships in school.” Media Psychology, 15, 121-147.
  • 2010. “Teaching tolerance via TV narratives in the US: Young viewers need help with the message.” Journal of Children and Media, 4, 231-242.
  • 2010. “The multiple meanings of age for television viewing.” Human Communication Research, 36, 372-396.
  • 2008. “Age differences in adults’ emotional motivations for exposure to films.” Media Psychology, 11, 377-399.
  • 2008. “Be kind to three-legged dogs: Children’s literal interpretations of TV’s moral lessons.” Media Psychology, 11, 377-399.


  • 2013. “Prosocial effects of television content for children.” Media Effects/Media Psychology: International Companion to Media Studies, Erica Scharrer New York: Blackwell.
  • 2012. “Effects of prosocial media content on children’s social interactions.” Handbook of children and the media (2nd Ed.), G. Singer & J. L. Singer Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • 2009. “Educational programming and learning.” The SAGE handbook of media processes and effects, Nabi & M. B. Oliver Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage, 331-344.


  • Associate Editor, International Encyclopedia of Media Processes. New York: ICA & Wiley.
  • Mares, M.L. & Pan, Z.. Method in Action Case Studies: Meta-Analysis – Effects of Sesame Street on Children’s Learning in 15 countries. SAGE Research Method Cases. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


  • CA 361 – Quantitative Research Methods in Communication Arts
  • CA 565 – Communication & Interethnic Behavior
  • CA 616 – Mass Media and Youth
  • CA 325 – Mass Media and Human Behavior