David Ewoldsen Ph.D.

David Ewoldsen


  • Media & Information


David Ewoldsen, Ph.D. brings an interdisciplinary approach to the study of communication and the media, and draws from communication scholarship, social and cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive anthropology. A respected researcher and scholar, his most recent ventures have focused on racism and the media, comprehension of media messages, cooperative video game play, entertainment, and the role of attitudes in risky health behavior.

Ewoldsen completed a joint Ph.D. in psychology and speech communication at Indiana University in 1990. Following his Ph.D., he served as a postdoctoral fellow in the cognitive sciences program at Vanderbilt University from 1990-1991. Shortly afterward, he became faculty at the University of Alabama with appointments in the Department of Communication Studies, Psychology, and African American Studies. In 2009, he joined the faculty of the School of Communication at Ohio State University.

Ewoldsen lives in Bath Township with his spouse Nancy Rhodes,[AK1] an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Advertising and Public Relations. They have four grown children and a cat named Allie. When he’s not working, Ewoldsen likes to canoe, kayak, hike and do most things outdoorsy-including flower gardening. He also loves The Who, dislikes most professional teams associated with Chicago, and admits to having a horrible sense of humor.


Ewoldsen is a professor in the Department of Media and Information. He teaches and mentors undergraduate and graduating students, conducts research, and collaborates with his MSU colleagues and scholars. His primary focus is media and information theory or methods-which makes him a perfect fit to co-teach MI 101: Understanding Media.

Research and Teaching

Ewoldsen’s key research interests are media psychology, health communication, attitudes and persuasion.

Recent Publications:

* Media Psychology, co-founding editor, 1998-2007
* Communication Methods and Measures, editor, 2007-2010
* Annals of the International Communication Association, editor, 2016-present.
* Ellithorpe, M., Ewoldsen, D. R., Oliver, M. B. (2015). Elevation (sometimes) increases altruism: Choice and number of outcomes in elevating media effects. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 4, 236-250.
* Ewoldsen, D. R., Rhodes, N., & Fazio, R. H. (2015). The MODE model and its implications for studying the media. Media Psychology, 18, 312-337.
* Song, H., & Ewoldsen, D. R. (2015). Metacognitive model of ambivalence: The role of multiple beliefs and metacognitions in creating attitude ambivalence. Communication Theory, 25, 23-45.
* Ewoldsen, D. R., Eno, C. A., Okdie, B. M., Velez, J., Guadagno, R. E., & DeCoster, J. (2012). Effect of playing violent video games cooperatively or competitively on subsequent cooperative behavior. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15, 277-280.
* Krcmar, M., Ewoldsen, D. R., & Koerner, A. (2016). Communication science, theory, and research: An advanced introduction. New York: Routledge.


Recent Grants:

* Consultant, Preventing substance use through hybrid web and in vivo delivery of Coping Power. Funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse. 2012-2015.
* Investigator, News and ad effects on alcohol risk perceptions. Funded by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse. 2009-2013.
* Principal Investigator. Adolescents, Media, and Smoking: An Experiential Decision-Making Model. Funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2005-2008.


Recent Public Talks:

* Ewoldsen, D. R. (March, 2015). Comprehension of health narratives. Paper presented at the Media Psychology Workshop, Haifa, Isreal.
* Dickinson, T., Irwin, M., & Ewoldsen, D. R. (Nov., 2014). Witnesses to the zombie apocalypse: Motivations for consumption of science fiction media. Paper presented at the annual meeting for the National Communication Association, Chicago, Ill.


Recent Awards:

* Fellow, International Communication Association, 2016
* Faculty Member of the Year, Ohio State University, 2015-16, 2012-2013
* Bronze Telly Award for the Captain Judgment video series, 2009


Creative/Research Work:

As a researcher focused on media psychology, Ewoldsen engages in the scientific study of the psychological processes involved in the selection, uses, interpretation, and effects of mediated communication. His recent research has included media and racism, adolescent risky behaviors, cooperative video game play, how people comprehend media messages, motivations for seeking narratives, and the psychology of entertainment.

Among his long-term projects are studies on the role of attitudes and norms in adolescent risky behavior (with Nancy Rhodes [AK2]at MSU), the potential for the media to augment interventions aimed at decreasing delinquency in adolescents (with John Lochman at the University of Alabama), and understanding the role of the media in promoting and combating racist attitudes (with Morgan Ellithorpe [AK3]at MSU).

Contact Information

404 Wilson Rd.
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University