Dr. Douglas Gentile

Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences


Office:2311 Lagomarcino
901 Stange Rd.
Ames IA

Topics of interest: Internet Gaming Disorder, Media effects, Media multitasking, Mindfulness

Laboratory: Media Research Lab


Dr. Douglas Gentile is an award-winning research scientist, educator, author, and is distinguished professor of psychology at Iowa State University. His experience includes over 30 years conducting research with children and adults. He is the editor of the book Media Violence and Children (2 editions), and co-author of the books Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy, Game On! Sensible Answers about Video Games and Media Violence, Learning from Video Games (and everything else), and Finding the Freedom to Get Unstuck and be Happier. He has authored over 150 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, including studies on the positive and negative effects of mass media on children in several countries, video game addiction, and mindfulness practices for reducing anxiety and increasing happiness. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. He was honored with the Distinguished Lifetime Contributions Award to Media Psychology and Technology by the American Psychological Association, and he was named one of the Top 300 Professors in the United States by the Princeton Review. Dr. Gentile runs the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University where he conducts research on media’s impact on children and adults. As the leader of this effort, Dr. Gentile develops and conducts research projects designed to give parents and other caregivers the kind of information they need and want to make informed media choices for their children. His research has been supported by several grants, including grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Gentile speaks internationally to community, education, health care, and parent groups. Praised as an engaging and energetic speaker, he speaks about issues such as the connection between media and brain development, the effects of television and video game violence, the effects of tobacco and alcohol advertising on adolescents, and the psychology of advertising. He has been featured on such radio shows as National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, To the Point, the BBC World Service, and his work has been reported on CNN, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Jo Frost’s Extreme Parental Guidance, as well as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and hundreds of other newspapers and television stations internationally. He was the creator and host of the monthly radio show The Science of Parenting.

Publications and External Links:


Ph.D., Child Psychology
Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, 1998

M.A., Child Psychology
Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, 1994

B.A., Psychology
State University of New York at Buffalo, 1986 (graduated with highest honors from the department, summa cum laude from the university)

Research Interests:

I study what can be defined broadly as media effects. I am interested in both the positive and negative effects of media on children and adults, including media violence, video games, advertising, educational media, news/propaganda, virtual reality, and music. My research is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on the methodologies and strengths of developmental psychology, social psychology, medicine, communications, and journalism. These days, I'm primarily focused on Gaming Disorder work, as we gear up for DSM6.


Dr. Gentile is also affiliated with the Communication Studies program and the Human-Computer Interaction program.