Karyn Riddle

Robert Taylor Professor of Strategic Communication


Karyn Riddle headshot

Karyn Riddle is the Robert Taylor Professor of Strategic Communication in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the psychology of media effects with an emphasis on the effects of exposure to media violence.

Karyn’s research explores the effects of media violence on both children and adults. Broadly speaking, she studies the degree to which violent media affect children’s and adults’ perceptions of violence in the real world, as well as their emotional responses. Most recently, she has focused on the issue of media violence vividness, the degree to which a violent portrayal is graphic, explicit, and memorable. For example, she has conducted experiments comparing the effects of vivid vs. non-vivid violence on adults. She has also explored the level of vividness in adults’ long-term memories for media violence seen in the past. Her research in these areas has appeared in Media Psychology, Communication Research, and the Journal of Children and Media.

In addition to a research program focusing on media effects, Karyn has also had experience working in the advertising industry. She was in the media planning department of DDB Chicago for 5 years, planning and executing national advertising campaigns for clients such as Betty Crocker Desserts, Hamburger Helper, Golden Grahams, JCPenney, FTD Flowers, and Lands’ End. She also contributed to the media plan for a successful new business pitch for Dell computers.

Karyn’s dual interests in media effects and strategic communication are reflected in the classes she teaches. On the media effects side, she teaches SJMC 616: Mass Media and Youth, SJMC 565: Effects of Mass Communication, and SJMC 849: Mass Media and the Individual. On the strategic communication side, she teaches SJMC 447: Strategic Media Planning, and SJMC 449: Research and Strategy for Communication Campaigns.

Karyn earned her B.A. in Advertising at the University of Illinois, and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara.