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University of Delaware

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Dr. Danna Young

Director, Center of Political Communication
Professor of Communication and Political Science
University of Delaware
250 Pearson Hall
Newark, DE 19716
 

Biography

Dannagal G. Young (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, 2007) studies the content, psychology, and influence of nontraditional political information. She has published over 60 academic articles and authored two books relating to media and political psychology, satire, and misinformation including: Wrong: How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive our Appetite for Misinformation (JHU Press, 2023) and Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laugher in the U.S. (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Dr. Young's 2020 TED Talk explaining how our  psychology shapes our politics, and how media exploit these relationships, has been viewed over 2 Million times. Her research has been cited in The Washington Post, USA Today, Politico, Christian Science Monitor, Variety, the New York Times, the Atlantic, PBS, Slate, Vox, and Agence France-Presse.   She has appeared on CNN, PBS Newshour, ABC News, NPR,  and her writing has been published in Vox.com, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. Her popular University of Delaware course "Propaganda and Persuasion" was released by The Great Courses in 2023.  In recognition of Dr. Young's public facing work, in 2021, she became the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Robert Entman Award in Democracy and Political Communication from the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) at The George Washington University. Young holds affiliations with the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center and the University of Arizona's National Institute for Civil Discourse. She was awarded the University of Delaware's Excellence in Teaching Award  in 2014.​

Google Scholar

Publications

Young, D. G., Bagozzi, B. E, Goldring, A., Poulsen, S., & Drouin, E. (forthcoming). Psychology, Political Ideology, and Humor Appreciation: Why is Satire so Liberal? Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Young, D. G., Jamieson, K. H., Poulsen, S., & Goldring, A. (2017). Fact-Checking Effectiveness as a Function of Format and Tone: Evaluating FactCheck. org and FlackCheck. org. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 1077699017710453.

Young, D. G. (forthcoming in 2017). Can satire and irony constitute misinformation? In B. Southwell and E. Thorson (Eds.). Misinformation and Mass Audiences. University of Texas Press.

Poulsen, S. & Young, D. G. (forthcoming in 2017). A history of Fact-checking in the U.S. political and election contexts. In B. Southwell and E. Thorson (Eds.) Misinformation and Mass Audiences. University of Texas Press.

Young, D. G. & Lukk, J. M. (forthcoming in 2017). Humor use and Policy Mentions in Candidate Interviews across Talk Show Sub-genres in the 2016 Presidential Election. In D. Schill and J. Hendricks (Eds.) Media and the 2016 Election: Discourse, Disruption, and Digital Democracy. Routledge Press.

Young, D. G. & Anderson, K. (2017). Media Diet Homogeneity in a Fragmented Media Landscape. Atlantic Journal of Communication. 25 (1), 33 - 47.

Young, D. G. (2017). Theories and Effects of Political Humor:  Discounting Cues, Gateways, and the Impact of Incongruities. In K. Kenski and K. H. Jamieson (Eds.), Handbook of Political Communication Theories.  Oxford University Press.

Jones, P. E., Brewer, P. R., & Young, D. G. (2016). The effects of traditional news, partisan talk, and political satire programs on perceptions of presidential candidate viability and electability. Atlantic Journal of Communication24(3), 172-184.

Young, D. G. (2015).  Political Humor and Satire in G. Mazzoleni (Ed.). The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons. 

LaMarre, H. L, Landreville, K. D., & Young, D. G.  (2014). Humor Works in Funny Ways: Examining Satirical Tone as a Key Determinant in Political Humor Message Processing.  Mass Communication & Society, 17, 400 - 423.

Brewer, P., Young, D. G., & Jones, P. E. (2013). Campaign News Genres, Audience Characteristics, and Media Perceptions: A Field Experiment. Electronic News, 7, 189 - 203.

Young, D. G., Holbert, R. L., & Jamieson, K. H. (2014).  Successful Practices for the Strategic use of Political Parody and Satire:  Lessons from the P6 Symposium and the 2012 Election Campaign. American Behavioral ScientistElection Issue 58, 1111 - 1130.

Brewer, P. R., Young, D. G., Morreale, M. (2013). The Impact of Real News about "Fake News": Intertextual Processes and Political Satire. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 25, 323 - 343.

Jones, P. E., Hoffman, L. H., & Young, D. G.  (2013). Online emotional appeals and political participation: The effect of candidate affect on mass behavior.  New Media & Society, 5, 1132 -  1150. PDF.

Courses Taught

Communication 245:  Mass Communication and Culture

This course explores the relationship between media and culture.  We will examine the history, functions, and industries of mass communication and will explore certain topics (technological convergence, consolidation of ownership, news economics, & media effects research) in depth. Students will acquire a broad understanding of how the mass media affect and interact with individuals and society.    

 

Communication 418/618:  Special Topics: Entertainment and Politics

For years politics and entertainment have had a flirtatious and tumultuous relationship.  Nixon's appearance on Laugh-in, to the political comedy of the Smothers Brothers, to the realistic presidential drama of The West Wing, to presidential candidate appearances on late-night comedy programs.  In this course, we will look at some examples of this relationship throughout history, with a specific focus on the latest trends in "politico-tainment" from 1992 to the present.   We will also examine the other side of this equation - that is, while politics is integrated into entertainment programs, so to are public affairs programs becoming more entertainment-oriented in both content and style. In an increasingly fragmented media environment with dwindling audience shares, news programs have been getting creative with their content and production choices - often incorporating more celebrity "news,"  more dramatic stories, more of the bizarre and unusual, and more coverage of entertainment. We will discuss both sides of this phenomenon, examine causes and effects of these trends, and critically examine the normative implications for citizenship and the healthy functioning of a democracy.

Communication 452/652:  Communication and Persuasion

This course explores the fundamental processes of persuasion – including psychological, sociological, and communicative processes.  In doing so, we will consider various aspects of messages, both verbal and visual, and how these elements can influence attitudes, intentions, and behaviors.  We will explore each of these categories of persuasion techniques in detail and apply them to persuasion in the context of advertising and marketing, politics, and health campaigns.  In addition to acquiring skills as communication practitioners, we will also be exploring these processes as critical consumers of mass media – better understanding the tactics used by message senders to influence our attitudes, opinions, and behaviors.    

Communication 408: New Media Project Development

This course will integrate communication theory into the practice of web design, focusing on the social psychology of site usability. The course is designed to provide students in the New Media Minor an opportunity to apply their knowledge of design and programming to a project for an actual non-profit client. Students in this course should already have experience in and knowledge of web design and programming, as those will not be taught in this course. Instead, we will learn how to apply social science to the study of new media, review literature on communication and usability theory, and integrate our observations into the production of a website for a client.

Prereqs include Computer Science 103 and Art 307.

Research

​political psychology, media psychology, media effects, misinformation, political humor

Awards

​Rod Hart Outstanding Book Award from Political Communication Division of the National Communication Association for Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the U.S. (2021)

Dr. Robert Entman Award in Democracy and Political Communication for public scholarship from the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) at The George Washington University (2021)

Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Delaware (2014)​

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