Karin Dovring, née Ingeborg, was born in Sweden and raised by her grandmother. She attended an exclusive girls' school on a scholarship and graduated from the Gothenburg College of Commerce in Sweden in 1936. She studied comparative literature, linguistics, psychology and political science at Lund University and graduated in 1943. That same year, she married Folke Dovring, who became an international expert in agricultural economics. In 1951, she earned a Ph.D. in political religious communications from Lund University with a dissertation on quantitative semantics that drew the attention of Harold D. Lasswell of Yale University. He was a psychologist who studied and researched politics, personality, and social science, at times for the U.S. government. He invited her to come to the USA as his research associate. While working with Lasswell, she published several books on mass communications and propaganda analysis including the now-classic Road of Propaganda: The Semantics of Biased Communication (1959). She also worked as a foreign correspondent for Swedish newspapers, and wrote short stories, a novel, and numerous collections of poetry. She lectured at universities in Europe and North America, and for the U.S. Army and the Peace Corps. A member of the Poetry Guild, she was inducted into the International Poetry Hall of Fame. She moved to Urbana, Illinois, in 1960 for her husband's work. A bequest from their estate established a fund to support propaganda and persuasion teaching and research in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois.