Lab News


The CN Lab is currently looking for qualified graduate students. Interested students should contact Dr. Emily Falk.

CN Lab Welcomes UROP Students



Emily FalkEmily Falk, Ph.D., Director (e-mail)

Emily Falk is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. She is jointly appointed at the Institute for Social Research/Research Center for Group Dynamics and in Psychology. Dr. Falk's research integrates methods from cognitive neuroscience (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging; fMRI), psychology (e.g. experimental studies of behavior in the lab; broad-based surveys in the real world; experience sampling), and communication studies to understand media effects at the individual, group and population levels. In particular, Dr. Falk is interested in understanding how people behave in response to persuasive messages (e.g. when do they change their behavior? can we predict how they will behave using neural data?). She is also interested in the spread of messages through social networks, and how social norms, values and culture spread. A primary focus of her work is health behavior change and the construction of effective health campaigns. She received her bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from Brown University, her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Prior to conducting her graduate work, Dr. Falk was a Fulbright Fellow in health policy, studying health communication at the British Columbia Center of Excellence for Women's Health in Vancouver, Canada.


Josh CarpJosh Carp, Doctoral Student, Psychology, LSA (e-mail)

Josh is a doctoral student in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan. He is interested in using neuroimaging methods to inform the explanation, prediction, and manipulation of health behaviors. In his parallel life as a cognitive psychologist, he studies the effects of aging on perception and memory.






Chris CascioChris Cascio, Doctoral Student, Communications Studies, LSA (e-mail)

Chris is doctoral student in the Communication Studies Department at the University of Michigan. Broadly his research interests are in the field of social neuroscience, examining neurocognitive mechanisms associated with persuasive messages that lead to behavior change.






Joe BayerJoe Bayer, Doctoral Student, Communications Studies, LSA (e-mail)

Joe looks at the social and cognitive ramifications of new and emerging media. What makes individuals text at the wheel when they know it is life threatening? One line of research focuses on social norms and habitual/compulsive behavior associated with mobile technology across different spheres (i.e., public, private). He is also interested in how ideas spread, perspective taking, and self-distancing.





Steve TompsonSteve Tompson, Doctoral Student, Psychology, LSA (e-mail)

Steve is a Ph.D student in the Psychology Department at the University of Michigan. He is interested in using neuroimaging to understand the social cognitive processes that mediate sociocultural differences in self-appraisal and decision-making. He is also interested in extending this research to examine the contribution of self-appraisal processes to attitude change and behavior change.





Frank TinneyFrank Tinney (e-mail)

Frank is a research coordinator at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. He spent his time as an undergraduate researching the effects of irrelevant fear and anxiety on persuasive health communications. Currently, his interests center on studying the promotion of healthy behaviors through persuasive communication.






Kristin ShumakerKristin Shumaker (e-mail)

Kristin is a research coordinator at the Institute for Social Research. Following a career as a theater artist and manager, she is returning to her undergraduate roots in science. She is interested in message propagation, persuasive communication and the neuroscience of pro-social behaviors, particularly in the areas of health behavior and cultural participation.







Matthew Brook O'DonnellMatthew Brook O'Donnell, Ph.D., Lab Manager (e-mail)

Matt is the Lab Manager and helps coordinate the various research projects carried by the Lab. His research background includes corpus linguistics, natural language processing and data mining with a focus on extracting linguistic patterns and networks from large textual databases (or corpora). He is interested in combining linguistic analyses of media language and persuasive discourse with behavioral and neuroscience approaches.







Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Becky Lau
  • Nicolette Gregor
  • Alison Sagon
  • Larisa Svintsitski
  • Kinari Shah
  • Gabrielle Cheng

Lab Alumni

Agnes JasinskaAgnes Jasinska, Ph.D.

Elliot PanekElliot Panek, Ph.D.




Elliot Berkman
University of Oregon
Lab Website

Matthew Lieberman
University of California, Los Angeles
Lab Website

UMTRI - University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

CHCR - Center for Health Communications Research



Affiliated Media and Communication Neuroscience Labs

Rene Weber
Lab Website