Al Gunther



Albert C. Gunther is a Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches courses in journalism writing, health communication and graduate seminars in theory and research methods. Gunther’s research interests focus on the psychology of the media audience, particularly partisans and special interest groups. He studies the ways in which people process information, how they perceive information to influence themselves and others (the third-person effect) and how they assess information bias (the hostile media effect). His research also examines perceptions of public opinion and how those perceptions influence subsequent attitudes and behaviors (the influence of presumed influence).

Most of this research is set in the context of science or public-health controversies. Example issues include genetically modified food, the use of primates in lab research, adolescent tobacco use, the debate over childhood vaccinations and the intersection of science and religion. His work has won over a dozen top-paper awards at major international meetings and in 2006 he received the International Communication Association’s Outstanding Article award for the “best article published in the field of communication during the past two years.”

Gunther publishes in most major communication journals, including Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, plus the Journal of Adolescent Health and Science Communication. He has received over $1.8 million in research funding from numerous sources including the USDA, NSF, NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation. His international work includes research collaborations and/or sabbaticals in Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Israel and France. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia in 1986 and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia in the 1970s. Other campus affiliations include the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars program, the UW Carbone Cancer Center, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the UW Public Health Program faculty.

Gunther received a BA (1969) and MA (1972) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his PhD at Stanford University in 1987.