Jennifer L. Harris, PhD, MBA

Senior Research Advisor, Marketing Initiatives, Rudd Center (Principal Investigator)

Research Overview

I am responsible for the Rudd Center’s research initiatives to understand the extent and impact of children’s exposure to food advertising and communicate that information to the health community, parents and policymakers. The project is currently funded through a three-year $5.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. My research focuses on marketing and public health, with an emphasis on unconscious effects of food marketing on behaviors, attitudes and motivation in children and youth. I have conducted extensive research to quantify the amount and types of food marketing seen by young people and its impact on their health and diets. I also have written on the psychological and behavioral effects of marketing to children and teens and the need to reduce unhealthy food marketing through public policy and advocacy. As an InCHIP affiliate, I plan to continue conducting research on both the extent and impact of food marketing to youth and to identify opportunities for environmental interventions to improve young people’s diets and reduce obesity.


Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; BA with honors in Political Science; 1980
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; MBA in Marketing; 1984
Yale University, New Haven, CT; MS in Psychology; 2005
Yale University, New Haven, CT; PhD in Social Psychology; 2008

Recent Publications


Featured Publications

Harris, J.L. & Fox, T. (in press). Food and beverage marketing in schools: Putting student health at the head of the class. JAMA Pediatrics.

Ustjanauskas, A., Harris, J.L., & Schwartz, M.B. (2013). Food and beverage advertising on children’s web sites. Pediatric Obesity, Epub ahead of print.

Gearhardt, A.N., Yokum, S., Stice, E., Harris, J.L. & Brownell, K.D. (2013). Relation of obesity to neural activation in response to food commercials. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Epub ahead of print.

Harris, J.L., Pierce, M., & Bargh, J.A. (2013). Priming effect of antismoking PSAs on smoking behavior. Tobacco Control, Epub ahead of print

Powell, L.M., Harris, J.L., & Fox, T. (2013). Food marketing expenditures aimed at youth: Putting the numbers in context. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 45(4),453-461.

Pomeranz, J.L., Munsell, C., & Harris, J.L. (2013). Energy drinks: An emerging public health hazard for youth. Journal of Public Health Policy, 34(2), 254-271.

Harris, J.L., Sarda, V., Schwartz, M.B., & Brownell, K.D. (2013). Redefining “child-directed advertising” to reduce unhealthy television food advertising. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(4), 358-364.

Melici, F.F., Harris, J.L., Sarda, V., & Schwartz, M.B. (2013). Amount of Hispanic youth exposure to food and beverage advertising on Spanish- and English-language televisionJAMA Pediatrics, 167(8), 723-730.

Harris, J.L. & Graff, S.K. (2012). Ethics of targeting food marketing to young people and the First Amendment: A psychological and legal perspective. American Journal of Public Health, 102(2), 214-222.

Harris, J.L., Speers, S.E., Schwartz, M.B. & Brownell, K.D. (2012). U.S. food company branded games on the internet: Children’s exposure and effects on snack consumption.Journal of Children and Media, 6(1), 51-68.

Harris, J.L., Schwartz, M.B., Ustjanauskas, A., Ohri-Vachaspati, P., & Brownell, K.D. (2011). Effects of serving high-sugar cereals on children’s breakfast-eating behavior.Pediatrics, 127(1), 71-76.

Roberto, C., Baik, J., Harris, J.L., & Brownell, K.D. (2010). The influence of licensed characters on children’s taste and snack preferences. Pediatrics, 126(1), 88-93.

Harris, J.L., Brownell, K.D. & Bargh, J.A. (2009). The Food Marketing Defense Model: Integrating psychological research to protect youth and inform public policy. Social Issues and Policy Review, 3, 211-271.

Harris, J.L., Bargh, J.A., & Brownell, K.D. (2009). Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior. Health Psychology, 28(4), 404-413.

Harris, J.L., Pomeranz, J.L., Lobstein, T. & Brownell, K.D. (2009). A crisis in the marketplace: How food advertising contributes to childhood obesity and what can be done. Annual Review of Public Health, 30, 211-225.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressRudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
1 Constitution Plaza, 6th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103