Mary Beth Oliver is a Distinguished Professor of Media Studies and the co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State. Her specialties are in media and psychology, she focuses on the psychological effects of media and on viewers’ attraction to or enjoyment of media content. She has additional expertise in the emotional and cognitive effects of media, media portrayals, media violence, reality television and stereotyping.
from The Wall Street Journal August 21, 2017
"Mary Beth Oliver, a Penn State professor who has studied tearjerkers, asked students to propose movie ideas designed to make men cry. "
from The Verge April 2, 2015
""I don’t think nostalgia is necessarily pain free,' says Mary Beth Oliver, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State. 'There’s a reason we call it bittersweet.'"
from E! September 15, 2015
"'It says something, especially if a person has a heavy diet of a certain type of programming,' says Mary Beth Oliver, a professor specializing in media and psychology at Penn State University and co-director of the school's Media Effects Research Laboratory."
from USA Today February 23, 2013
"'When we watch films that you have to sort through these very big existential questions, when we do make the emotional investment in those kinds of films, we feel enriched. We value it,' she [Mary Beth Oliver]says."
from CNN February 10, 2012
"And while some moviegoers will buy tickets to a poignant love story looking for a sort of cathartic experience, Mary Beth Oliver, a professor of media studies at Penn State University, says it's unclear if movies actually serve such a purpose. People certainly go to the movie theater with the intention of having a good cry and letting out certain emotions, Oliver said. However, she added, there are many reasons why films make people feel better, and the movie itself might not even be one of them."
from The Atlantic April 6, 2012
"Why were boys so reluctant to let their Titanic flags fly? 'There are certain arenas where male crying is deemed appropriate, like the loss of a favorite sporting team, the death of a parent, or war,' said Mary Beth Oliver, a media professor at Penn State, in 2010 interview with the BBC about the tear-jerking effects of a different film. 'For many men, there is a great deal of pressure to avoid expression of 'female' emotions like sadness and fear. From a very young age, males are taught that it is inappropriate to cry, and these lessons are often accompanied by a great deal of ridicule when the lessons aren't followed.'"
from The Verge October 31, 2012
"With such incredible longevity — the jump scare has appeared in everything from Jaws to Seven — it’s clear audiences appreciate a well-tuned jump. Mary Beth Oliver, Professor and Co-Director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University’s College of Communications, thinks the reasons behind it are twofold. 'I do believe that there’s a tendency for some people to simply enjoy the actual adrenaline rush of the scare itself right then and there,' she says, comparing it to a ride. On the other hand, she suggests, being scared heightens the physiological state of the audience — intensifying emotions they feel during the movie, and making any dramatic payoffs at the end that much more satisfying. In that sense, being scared may actually make the story in a horror movie stronger."
from The Wall Street Journal October 25, 2011
"Mary Beth Oliver, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Penn State University, concurs: 'Going to the scariest movie in town gives him the opportunity to be the protector and gives her the opportunity to show her empathy and need for companionship,' she says."