Two communication professors at The University of Arizona have received awards recognizing their contributions to the field.
Ed Donnerstein, who also is dean of the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, has received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Media Psychology award given by the American Psychological Association. This award recognizes "outstanding empirical and/or theoretical contributions to the field of media psychology."
Dale Kunkel received the Applied/Public Policy Research award given by the International Communication Association. The award honors "a scholar who has produced a systematic body of research in communication studying a particular applied or policy problem for the betterment of society."
Donnerstein and Kunkel have collaborated on their research for years. From 1994 to 1998, they were the principal investigators of the Nation" in the UA communication department.
Donnerstein's research has focused on mass media violence and mass media policy. He has published more than 220 scientific articles and serves on the editorial boards of a number of academic journals in both psychology and communication. He was a member of the American Psychological Association's Commission on Violence and Youth and the association's Task Force on Television and Society, served on the Advisory Council of the American Medical Association Alliance's violence prevention program and is the past president of the International Society for Research on Aggression.
Kunkel studies children and media issues, including the effects of television violence, sexual content and advertising on young people. He is a former Congressional Science Fellow and has testified as an expert witness on children's media topics at numerous hearings before the U.S. House and Senate and the Federal Communications Commission.
Since 1997, Kunkel and his colleagues have conducted studies of sexual content in entertainment television, funded by grants from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. He also studies age-related developmental differences in how children recognize and defend against commercial persuasion in the media.
In 2004, he was senior author of the scientific report from the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Advertising to Children. More recently, he served on a National Academy of Sciences committee that studied the role of food marketing to children as a contributor to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.