Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz

Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz
215 Switzler Hall

Dr. Elizabeth (Lissa) Behm-Morawitz (Ph.D., Arizona) is Professor in the Department of Communication and Associate Dean in the Graduate School. Her research examines how mediated gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality influence stereotyping, self-concept, and health. Much of her work examines cultural representation in interactive media contexts, where the media user can create and interact with virtual representations.  She takes a media psychology approach to understanding the effects of virtual embodiment and presence in virtual environments, such as video games and virtual worlds.

The primary aims of Dr. Behm-Morawitz’s research are to (1) improve our theoretical understanding of how mediated social identities affect individuals’ cognitions and behavioral intentions, (2) explore such media effects in “new” media (i.e. virtual and interactive) contexts, and (3) increase media industry and public awareness of the problematic as well as promising effects of media culture.

Her research has been published in journals such as Computers in Human Behavior, Media Psychology, Human Communication Research, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. 

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

Media Communication in Society (COMM 2100)

Mass Media Theory (COMM 3490)

Contemporary Issues in Mass Communication (COMM 3636)
Theory and Research in Persuasion (COMM 4474)

New Technologies and Communication (COMM 4638)

Graduate Courses:

Theory and Research in Persuasion (COMM 7474)

New Technologies and Communication (COMM 7638)
Seminar in Content Analysis (COMM 8140)

Seminar in Mass Communication Theory (COMM 8510)
Seminar in Mass Media Effects (COMM 9520)


Select Publications

Behm-Morawitz, E. (2014). Racial, ethnic, and gender stereotyping in video game advertisements. Journal of Marketing Communications, 1-20.

Behm-Morawitz, E., & Ta, D. (2014). Cultivating virtual stereotypes?: The impact of video game play on racial and ethnic stereotyping. Howard Journal of Communications, 25, 1-15.

Behm‐Morawitz, E. (2013). Mirrored selves: The influence of self-presence in a virtual world on health, appearance, and well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 119-128.

Behm-Morawitz, E. (2013). Self‐presence and the effects of the avatar on health and appearance. Games for Health Journal, 2, 50-52.

Behm-Morawitz, E., & Pennell, H. (2013). The effects of superhero sagas on our gendered selves. In R. Rosenberg (Ed.), Our Superheroes, Ourselves. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Behm-Morawitz, E., & Ortiz, M. (2012). Race, ethnicity, and the media. In K. Dill (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Media Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Behm-Morawitz, E., & Mastro, D. (2009). Effects of the sexual objectification of female characters in video games on gender stereotyping and female self-concept. Sex Roles, 6, 808‐823.

Behm-Morawitz, E., & Mastro, D. (2008). Mean girls?: The influence of gender portrayals in teen movies on emerging adults' gender-based attitudes and beliefs. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 85, 31-46.

Mastro, D., Behm-Morawitz, E., & Kopacz, M. (2008). Exposure to television portrayals of Latinos: The implications of aversive racism and social identity theory. Human Communication Research, 34, 1-27.