Emily Falk

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Institute for Social Research
Research Center for Group Dynamics
Faculty Associate
Short bio: 

Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles. Psychology.

B.S. Brown University. Neuroscience.

Research summary: 

Professor Falk's research focuses on the brain as a window to understand attitude and behavior change at the individual, group and population levels. She employs a variety of methods, with a focus on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She has worked to develop a program of research in what she calls “Communication Neuroscience” to link neural activity (in response to persuasive messages) to behaviors at the individual, group and population levels. In particular, Professor 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). Falk is also interested in the development of “neural focus groups” 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. 

Recent publications: 

Falk, E.B., Way, B., & Jasinska, A. (2012). An imaging genetics approach to understanding social influence Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6:168.

Falk, E., Berkman, E., & Lieberman, M.D. (2012). Neural responses predict population-level responses to persuasive messages. Psychological Science. (Supporting online materials can be found here)

Falk, E.B. (2012). Can neuroscience advance our understanding of core questions in communication studies? An overview of communication neuroscience. In. S. Jones (Ed.). Communication at the Center. Hampton Press.

Falk, E.B., Spunt, R.P., & Lieberman, M.D. (2012). Ascribing beliefs to ingroup and outgroup political candidates: Neural correlates of perspective taking, issue importance, and days until the election. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 367, 731-743.

Muscatell, K.A., Morelli, S.A., Falk, E.B., Way, B.M., Pfeifer, J.H, Galinsky, A.D., Lieberman, M.D., Dapretto, M. & Eisenberger, N.I. (2012). Social Status Modulates Neural Activity in the Mentalizing Network. Neuroimage 60, 1771-1777

Berkman, E.T., Falk, E.B. & Lieberman, M.D. (2011). In the trenches of real-world self-control: Neural correlates of breaking the link between craving and smoking. Psychological Science, 22(4), 498-506.