lara zwarunDr. Zwarun's research expertise centers on persuasion in the media. This includes the effects and regulation of risky or sensitive media messages, such as alcohol advertising; whether media literacy skills protect vulnerable audiences from dangerous messages; how multitasking and distraction affect processing of media narratives; and whether hopeful environmental messages can spur hope and civic advocacy. Her work has appeared in journals including Media Psychology, American Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. Dr. Zwarun is a University of Missouri System Presidential Engagement Scholar, one of 15 faculty chosen to share their research contributions with Missouri residents around the state.


Ph.D. in Communication, University of California Santa Barbara
M.A. in Advertising, University of Texas at Austin
B.A. in Rhetoric, University of California Berkeley

Courses Taught:
COMM 1050: Introduction to Mass Communication
COMM 3330: Research Methods
COMM 3355: Dangerous Messages
COMM 3371: Strategic Communication in the Digital Environment
COMM 6815: Graduate Seminar in Persuasion

Selected Publications:

Bier, M., Zwarun, L., & Sherblom, S. (2016).  Evidence of the Value of the Smoking Media Literacy Framework for Middle School Students.  Journal of School Health, 86, 717-725.

Zwarun, L., & Hall, A. (2014). What’s going on?: Age, distraction, and multitasking during online survey taking.  Computers and Human Behavior, 41, 236-244. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.041

Zwarun, L., & Hall, A. (2012). Narrative persuasion, transportation, and the role of need for cognition in online viewing of fantastical films. Media Psychology, 15, 327-355.

Bier, M.C., Zwarun, L., & Warren, V.F. (2011). Getting universal primary tobacco use prevention into priority area schools: A media literacy approach. Health Promotion Practice. 12(Suppl 2), 152S-158S.

Zwarun, L. (2006). Ten years and one Master Settlement later: The nature and frequency of alcohol and tobacco promotion in televised sports, 2000 through 2002. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1492-1497.

Zwarun, L., Linz, D., Metzger, M., & Kunkel, D. (2006). Effects of showing risk in beer commercials to young drinkers. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 50, 52-77.

Christie, T.B., Clark, A.M., & Zwarun, L. (2006). Finding a credible message to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Global Media Journal, 5, 22.

Zwarun, L., & Farrar, K.M. (2005). Doing what they say, saying what they mean: Self-regulatory compliance and depictions of drinking in alcohol commercials in televised sports. Mass Communication and Society8, 347-371.

Metzger, M, Flanagin, A., & Zwarun, L. (2003). College student Web use, perceptions of information credibility, and verification behavior.  Computers and Education, 41, 271-290.

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