My theoretical work has focused primarily on dynamic processes in which selectivity in communication channels reinforces beliefs, social identity, and related behaviors, and vice versa (the Reinforcing Spirals Model) and work on how narratives influence our view of ourselves and our world, and may influence our behavior (Extended Elaboration Likelihood Model, Temporarily Expanded Boundaries of the Self, and Mediated Wisdom of Experience). I have an extensive research program in media and health, particularly in the area of prevention, have been extensively funded by the National Institutes of Health, and am currently engaged in a variety of collaborative projects related to alcohol and tobacco use.
In my graduate advising, my priority is for graduate students to engage as deeply as possible in the process of intellectual growth and discovery by pushing to discover the important and original questions inherent in or underlying their areas of inquiry, and by exploring the methodological tools they'll need to answer the questions they want to ask. In my classroom teaching, I am primarily concerned with how students can use what they learn; how students can integrate material into their interests and use it to achieve their goals. In courses that I teach (normally in areas such as theory construction and development, communication campaigns, health communication, attitudes and behavior) I typically focus on major projects such as research proposals or campaign plans that allow students to tailor course material to their primary areas of interest.