Dana Mastro

Professor & Vice-Chair
Media Effects & Race/Ethnicity

Contact Phone

(805) 893-5550

Office Location

SSMS 4413


Media and Stereotyping, Media Effects, Media and Race/Ethnicity, Content Analysis


Dana Mastro is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University, her M.A. in Communication-Urban Studies from Michigan State, and her B.A. in History from UCLA. Dr. Mastro’s research is aimed at increasing our understanding of media effects processes related to racial/ethnic stereotyping.  To this end, her work investigates the influence of exposure to stereotypical racial/ethnic images in the media on perceptions of self and other as well as on intergroup relations. This program of research is evidenced in three primary ways in her work. First, her research documents depictions of racial/ethnic minorities (primarily Latino Americans) on television and across the broader media landscape.  Next, her work assesses the extent to which exposure to these characterizations influences White consumers’ real-world cognitions and intergroup outcomes.  Last, her studies explore the degree to which media use impacts on the self-concept and social perceptions of Latino audience members themselves. In testing these relationships, her research incorporates a broad range of quantitative methods (content analysis, experiment, survey, IAT, ECG, SCL) and diverse bodies of literature including those rooted in social identity theory and self-categorization theory; stereotyping and discrimination; and priming.

Dr. Mastro’s most recent projects examine: (a) the effects of exposure to racially stereotypical humor on TV on physiological responses, social perceptions, and voting behaviors; (b) the impact of exposure to subtle racial/ethnic linguistic biases in the news on judgments about Latinos; and (c) the influence of exposure to both positive and negative racial/ethnic media portrayals on consumers’ self-concept, group identity, and esteem.

Professor Mastro’s research can be found in journals such as Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Media Psychology, theJournal of Communication and the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, as well as in books such as Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research. Her work has been funded by both private and federal granting agencies.  She teaches classes in media theory; mass communication; and media, race/ethnicity, & stereotyping.

Faculty Appointments

2012-present: Professor, Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

2006-2012: Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication, University of Arizona

2003-2006: Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Arizona

2000-2003: Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Boston College


Sample/Representative Publications

Mastro, D. (in press).  Media use & the well-being of racial and ethnic groups. In M.B. Oliver & L. Reinecke (Eds.), Handbook of Media Use and Well-Being: International Perspectives on Theory and Research on Positive Media Effects. New York: Routledge Press.
Tukachinsky, R., Mastro, D., & Yarchi, M. (in press). The effect of primetime television ethnic/racial stereotypes on Latino and Black Americans: A longitudinal national level study. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.
Mastro, D. & Sink, A. (in press). Phenotypicality Bias on Television? A Quantitative Content Analysis of Primetime TV. In M. Cepeda & D. Casillas (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Media. New York: Routledge Press.
Dragojevic, M., Mastro, D., Giles, H., & Sink, A. (in press). Group accent portrayals on American primetime television: A content analysis. Language in Society, 45, 59-85. doi:10.1017/S0047404515000743
Mastro, D. (2015). Why the media’s role in issues of race and ethnicity should be in the spotlight. Journal of Social Issues, 71, 1-16. doi: 10.1111/josi.12093
Atwell Seate, A. & Mastro, D. (2015). Understanding the media’s role in immigration attitudes: An experimental test of intergroup threat theory. Communication Monographs. doi: 10.1080/03637751.2015.1068433
Atwell Seate, A. & Mastro, D. (2015). Exposure to immigration in the news: The impact of group-level emotions on intergroup behavior. Communication Research. doi: 10.1177/0093650215570654
Mastro, D., Tukachinsky, R., Behm-Morawitz, E., & Blecha, E. (2014). News coverage of immigration:  The influence of exposure to linguistic bias in the news on consumer's racial/ethnic cognitions. CQ, 62, 135-154.
Mastro, D. & Tukachinsky, R. (2013). The influence of media exposure on the formation, activation, and application of racial/ethnic stereotypes. In E. Scharrer (Ed.), Media effects/Media psychology, Vol. 5. (A. Valdivia, Gen Ed). (pp. 295-315). Boston, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Mastro, D. & Tukachinsky, R. (2012). Cultivation of perceptions of marginalized communities. In J. Shanahan, M. Morgan, & N. Signorielli (Eds.), The cultivation differential: State of the art research in cultivation theory (pp. 38-60). New York & Berlin: Peter Lang Publishers.
Mastro, D., Atwell Seate, A., Blecha, E., & Gallegos, M. (2012). The wide world of sports commentary: The influence of gender and race-based expectations in sports on evaluations of sports analysts. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89, 458-474.
Mastro, D. & Atwell Seate, A. (2012). Group membership in race-related media processes and effects. In H. Giles (Ed.), The Handbook of Intergroup Communication (pp. 357-369). New York: Routledge.
Mastro, D. & Tukachinsky, R. (2011). The influence of exemplar versus prototype-based media primes on racial/ethnic evaluations. Journal of Communication, 61, 916-937.
Mastro, D., Lapinski, M., Kopacz, M., & Behm-Morawitz, E. (2009). The influence of exposure to depictions of race and crime in TV news on viewer’s social judgments. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 53, 615-635.
Mastro, D., Behm-Morawitz, E., & Kopacz, M. (2008). Exposure to TV portrayals of Latinos: The implications of aversive racism and social identity theory. Human Communication Research, 34, 1-27.
Mastro, D. & Ortiz, M. (2008). A content analysis of social groups in primetime Spanish language television. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52, 1-18.
Mastro, D., Behm-Morawitz, E., & Ortiz, M. (2007). The cultivation of social perceptions of Latinos: A mental models approach. Media Psychology, 9, 1-19.
Mastro, D. & Kopacz, M. (2006). Media representations of race, prototypicality, and policy reasoning: An application of self-categorization theory. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50, 305-322.
Mastro, D., Tamborini, R., & Hullett, C. (2005). Linking media to prototype activation and subsequent celebrity attraction: An application of self-categorization theory. Communication Research, 32, 323-348.
Mastro, D. & Behm-Morawitz, E. (2005). Latino representation on primetime television. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82, 110-130.
Mastro, D. (2003). A social identity approach to understanding the impact of television messages. Communication Monographs, 70, 98-113.
Mastro, D. & Greenberg, B.S. (2000). The portrayal of racial minorities on prime time television. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 44, 690-703.