Professor Barrie Gunter

barrie gunter photograph

B.Sc. Psychology, University of Wales (UCNW, Bangor), 1975

M.Sc. Social Psychology, University of London (LSE), 1976

Ph.D. Psychology, University of East London, 1980

Professor of Mass Communications

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Career Experience

I am a media research specialist with 15 years experience as an audience and market researcher in the broadcast sector before moving to the academic sector. I took degrees in psychology from the University of Wales (UCNW Banger, B.Sc., 1975), University of London (LSE, M.Sc., 1976) and University of East London (Ph.D, 1980).My doctoral research examined the effects of production variables on audience memory and comprehension of broadcast news. I am a registered chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Full Member of the Market Research Society.

In 1980 I commenced post-doctoral studies as an Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Research Fellow in London during which I conducted research into methodologies for classifying violence on television. I subsequently joined the research department of the IBA as a research officer in 1982, being promoted to senior research officer (1984) and then to Head of Research (1987). As the IBA’s Head of Research, I was responsible for running all the Authority’s audience research, devising its research strategy, liaising with in-house clients in specialist regulatory departments and divisions, and acting as research spokesperson. I represented the IBA on industry research bodies such as the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board and Group of European Audience Researchers, and was management board member of the media industry think-tank, the Broadcasting Research Unit.

In 1991, I was appointed as Head of Research of the new commercial television regulator in the UK, the Independent Television Commission. I managed the Commission’s research department, controlled its research budget, devised research strategy, and acted on behalf of in-house clients in managing research commissions from outside suppliers. I also played a key role in the assessment of Independent Television licence applications at the time of ITV licence renewals in 1990-1991.

In 1994 I took a chair in Journalism Studies at the newly formed Department of Journalism Studies, University of Sheffield where I also became the Department’s Director of Research and head of its doctoral programme. At Sheffield, I conducted the biggest content analysis study ever undertaken in the UK on violence on television for the broadcasting industry.

I took the Chair in Mass Communications at CMCR, and became the new Director of the Centre in February 2005. In January 2006, CMCR was upgraded to departmental status and re-launched as the Department of Media and Communication of which I became the Head.

“In July 2012 I stood down as Head of Department and remained as Professor of Mass Communication. In January 2015 I took retirement and was subsequently appointed as Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester in February 2015. I continue to do research and write about communications and media issues.”

Research Interests

In the early stages of my career I conducted research on a wide range of issues and was perhaps best known for my work on the nature, effects and regulation of media violence; audience memory and comprehension of televised news; and children’s understanding of television programmes. I also completed research on the health effects and political effects of television and on public opinion about broadcasting in the UK.

On joining the academic world in 1994, I completed the biggest study at that time into the depiction of violence on British television, funded by the broadcasting industry. I also led a large-scale study of public understanding of science, focused on biotechnology developments, funded by the UK government.  During the 1990s, I completed a number of studies and wrote/co-wrote several books about advertising and marketing developments. I also co-wrote several business books about organisational management issues.

In the later years of my career I completed other major volumes about violence on television, flowing from the major UK study and also from a study of the impact of the introduction of television on the South Atlantic island of St Helena. I also completed a major volume about media and sex.

During this period, I was involved in a major evaluation study of a series of new government services designed to provide the public with online health information and interactive support. In particular, this study examined the use and impact of health information on the Internet, on closed networks within GP surgeries, hospitals and health centres and also on digital interactive TV platforms.

I completed a major study of the nature and effects of alcohol advertising on television in the UK and a comprehensive audit of baby milk advertising across all media with colleagues at the University of Leicester.

My latest books since 2010 have concerned the measurement of celebrity capital and fame; cognitive impact of televised news; the effects of digital brand advertising online aimed at children; developments in the psychological classification of consumers; news media and social media in the Arab world; the role of different media in the sexualisation of children; the effects of video games on violent behaviour; the nature, effects and regulation of food advertising; and predicting the box office performance on movies.   I have also written a book about women in corporate boardrooms.



I have written/co-written or nearly 70 books and published more than 300 journal papers, other articles, book chapters and technical reports on a range of media, marketing, management and psychology topics.

Full list of my publications

Professional Activities

I have served on the editorial boards of several leading media and communications journals, including the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Communication, Media Psychology, and Trends in Communication. I regularly review submissions for many other academic journals in communications, marketing, political science, psychology, and sociology.

I have conducted corporate consultancy work in areas such as corporate culture auditing and employee attitude surveying for a number of large companies in the communications, media, leisure and finance sectors.  In addition, I have acted as a consultant psychologist for a number of public relations firms. I have also served as an expert witness in corporate litigation in the fields of media, advertising and risk assessment for leading law firms.

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Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
132 New Walk
United Kingdom

University of Leicester
107-111 Princess Road East
United Kingdom

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