The Communication, Health and Emerging Media (CHARM) lab examines the cognitive, emotional and social mechanisms underlying communication processes that shape people’s behaviors and health decision making against the backdrop of the current new media landscape. Employing self-report survey measures, online and eye-tracking lab experiments, computerized textual analysis, and neuroimaging methods, researchers in the lab focus on theory-based persuasive health message design, social media analytics to unveil and track user-generated health discussions, and identifying environmental and individual level factors contributing to health behavior outcomes. CHARM looks to identify ways in which communication could be optimally leveraged to promote desirable health behavior changes, especially among vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved groups.  

Current Projects

  • Neuroimaging approaches to inform the development of anti-vaping campaign messages targeting young adult heavy e-cigarette users
  • Eye-tracking studies on attention-grabbing, persuasive and viral social media messages
  • A multi-methodological approach to study health warning labels on tobacco and cannabis products
  • Unsupervised topic modeling on Instagram fitspiration posts
  • Supervised machine learning on automatically classifying and longitudinally tracking tobacco-related mass and social media texts
  • Online experiments to understand the underlying mechanisms of health-related social norm formation

Areas of Study 

Health Communication Risk Communication
Quantitative Approaches Message Effects
Message Production Social Media
Social Influence and Persuasion Public Campaigns and Interventions