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News and Communications Services

Richard Harris

Professor of psychological sciences

Richard Harris

Our brains are inundated by messages they must interpret in a variety of ways. Richard Harris, Kansas State University professor of psychological sciences, has studied the way people process information during different facets of their lives, particularly through the form of language.

Much of Harris' recent research has involved studying young adults' memories of watching movies. He has studied reasons for watching various types of movies and the effect of the viewing, including violent movies seen as a child or teen, romantic or scary movies seen on a date and movies that have been considered disturbing. Harris has also researched how and why people quote lines from movies in conversation, how thinking about a media character can positively prime social attitudes and the effects of playing video games or seeing smoking in entertainment.

Harris also has researched how bilingual people use language, including how they code-switch, understand figurative language and process cognates. He is currently studying how people acquire information from subtitles and soundtracks of films. Supported by Fulbright grants, Harris has taught in Brazil and Uruguay, which has helped him to better address this topic.

He has studied how people draw inferences from language they hear and remember these inferences as having been stated directly in the text. Harris has studied such processes in the context of deceptive advertising and the way that culture-specific knowledge drives the drawing of inferences and how second language learners draw inferences from language.

Harris has edited three books of research readings and written two textbooks, "Learning and Cognition" with Thomas Leahey of Virginia Commonwealth University, and "A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication."

He was a visiting scholar to New Zealand in 2005 and has published more than 110 articles in professional journals. Harris is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, the International Communication Association, the Psychonomic Society, the Society for Text and Discourse and the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Harris received his doctoral and master's degrees in psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology with a minor in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his bachelor's in psychology from the College of Wooster.

Harris can be reached at 785-532-0610 or rjharris@k-state.edu.