Richard Huskey / Chair
Richard Huskey (PhD, University of California Santa Barbara) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and the Cognitive Science Program at the University of California Davis. Dr. Huskey is the principal investigator in the Cognitive Communication Science Lab, a researcher in the Computational Communication Research Lab, an affiliated faculty member at the Center for Mind and Brain, and an affiliated faculty member in the Designated Emphasis in Computational Social Science. He studies how motivation influences the attitudes people hold, and the behaviors they adopt. He researches these questions using a variety of methodological techniques including: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computational methods, and lab-based experiments.
Chris Cascio / Vice-Chair
Chris Cascio is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Communication Brain and Behavior Lab. He uses tools from communication neuroscience and social neuroscience to understand when and how persuasion and social influence work. His research focuses on neurocognitive mechanisms associated with social influence (e.g., social norms, peer influence) and persuasive messages delivered through mass media, social media, and interpersonal communication in order to better understand subsequent behavior. More specifically, his research aims to: 1) understand the core mechanisms that drive behavior change in response to social influence and persuasive messages; 2) understand how situational social context (e.g., being in the presence of a risky versus safe peer), socio-demographic context factors (e.g., high versus low socioeconomic status (SES)), and development (e.g., adolescents versus young adults) moderate neural mechanisms associated with social influence and persuasion; and 3) understand how intervention strategies (e.g., self-affirmations) alter neural mechanisms associated with social influence and persuasion, and how these changes relate to behavior change.
Amelia Couture Bue / Secretary
Amelia Couture Bue is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Maine. She is also the founder and director of the Empowerment Lab, a research lab that provides undergraduate and graduate students with hands-on opportunities to conduct media psychology research using psychophysiological equipment. Her research examines media effects related to body image and complex emotions like empowerment. She does this using a wide range of methods, including: eye tracking, galvanic skin response, reaction-time data, and experiments and surveys. Her research has been published in the Journal of Communication, Media Psychology, Body Image, Sex Roles, and Computers in Human Behavior. Her current research interests include strategic development of campaigns to empower women to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and how Zoom use may lead to body image disturbance.
Jason Coronel / Treasurer
Jason is broadly interested in understanding how and why people make political decisions in the manner that they do. His research examines how the media environment, in combination with psychological processes, influences political decision making. His approach is interdisciplinary in nature, bringing together concepts and data from behavioral, psychological, and neurobiological levels of analysis. He uses a combination of techniques including event-related potentials, eye movement monitoring, and tDCS to examine the psychological processes that underlie political decision making. The overall goal of this research program is to understand the informational environments and psychological mechanisms that foster or inhibit people’s capacities to make sound decisions in a democracy.
Ralf Schmälzle / International Liaison
Ralf Schmälzle is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University, USA. He is interested in affective responses to mass communication, including the reception of movies, speeches, and health messages. In his role as International Liaison, he strives to expand CSaB’s global connections and make it easier for scholars worldwide to embrace biological approaches to communication.
David Lydon-Staley/ Digital Media Coordinator
David is an Assistant Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Addiction, Health, & Adolescence (AHA!) Lab. He studies dynamics in curiosity, emotions, and substance use in daily life and how these dynamics are associated with brain structure and function, interpersonal experiences, and media engagement. He uses a variety of methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging and experience-sampling.
Shelby Wilcox /
Student and Early Career Representative
Shelby is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. As a member of the Neuroscience of Messages Lab, she studies message effects on memory and health behaviors using uses self-report surveys, EEG, fMRI, and computational methods. She also studies how health messages are discussed in conversations and how such conversations impact health behaviors. In her role as an SECR, she hopes to continue fostering strong communities within CSaB. Lastly, Shelby is passionate about ongoing movements in academia like open science, addressing mental health, and efforts to improve diversity and equity.
Allison Eden / Chair; 2020 – 2022
Allison’s work is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from communication and media psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience. Her research and teaching are in the areas of media psychology, media entertainment, and individual processing of media. In addition to these topics, she also supervise thesis work in persuasion and marketing.
Emily Falk / Chair; 2018 – 2020
Emily is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. Prof. Falk employs a variety of methods drawn from communication science, neuroscience and psychology. Her work traverses levels of analysis from individual behavior, to diffusion in group and population level media effects. In particular, Prof. Falk is interested in predicting behavior change following exposure to persuasive messages and in understanding what makes successful ideas spread (e.g. through social networks, through cultures). Prof. Falk is also interested in developing methods to predict the efficacy of persuasive communication at the population level. At present, much of her research focuses on health communication, including recent work exploring neural predictors of increased sunscreen use, neural predictors of smoking reduction, and linking neural responses to health messages to population level behavioral outcomes; other areas of interest include political communication, cross-cultural communication, and the spread of culture, social norms and sticky ideas. Prof. Falk’s work has been funded by NCI, NICHD, NIDA/the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, ARL, DARPA and ONR. Prior to her doctoral work, Prof. Falk was a Fulbright Fellow in health policy, studying health communication in Canada. She received her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Brown University, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
René Weber / Inaugural Chair, 2016 – 2018
Through his substantial and prolific record of research in the area of media neuroscience, René Weber has made important contributions to the field of communication. His research program focuses on complex cognitive responses to mass communication, video games, and new technology media messages. He has earned both the Ph.D. in Media Psychology and an M.D. in Psychiatry and Cognitive Neuroscience, providing him with a key combination of training in support of his development of theories that help us better understand the dynamic interactions between the human brain and mediated messages. He was the first communication scholar to regularly use fMRI methodologies to investigate a series of different media effects, from the impact of violence in video games to the effectiveness of anti-drug PSAs. He has published four books and more than 110 journal articles and book chapters (May, 2018). His research has been supported by grants from national scientific foundations in the United States and Germany, as well as through private philanthropies and industry contracts. The international significance of work is evidenced by several top paper awards, and “Outstanding Article” awards from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Advertising Research Foundation. He has been a high-profile public representative for communication science within the academy and the general public. He is on the editorial board of several top-tier communication and neuroscience journals. He was founder of the International Communication Association’s Communication Science and Biology Interest Group and served as its first Chair, helping to develop a sense of community among its members. He also served as Vice Chair/Chair of ICA’s Mass Communication Division.