Neurocognitive Communication

We're pioneering interdisciplinary research combining the field of communication science with cognitive neuroscience, psychophysiology, media psychology, neurolinguistics and neuromarketing. Our research labs are full of ComArtSci faculty and students exploring how communication happens in the brain. We're using methods such as fMRI, EEG, and fNIRS, as well as galvanic skin response and heart rate monitors. These measures provide us with new insights into the hidden processes that underlie communication and its effects on behavior. 

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Researcher Ralf Schmäelzle from ComArtSci's Department of Communication is researching neurocognitive communication and social networks, looking inside the brain to discover the impacts our social networks have on how our brains operate.

Centers and Labs

The Media and Advertising Psychology Lab is focused on the study of media and advertising using biopsychological approaches, methods and theories.


The Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Development Lab conducts research on neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie language development and disorders in monolingual and bilingual children. The lab has a focus on reading, studying neural correlates of reading in bilingual and multilingual children and adults. It also studies early identification and intervention of developmental dyslexia using a multimodal neuroimaging method.

The Neuroscience of Messages Lab follows messages under the skin and examines the responses they evoke. We study messages across a variety of communication contexts, including health communication, political communication, interpersonal communication, and entertainment. Our main research tools include functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), and related imaging methods. We combine these methods with self-report and linguistic measures, and behavioral testing.

Learn More about the Neuroscience of Messages Lab

The Center for Avatar Research and Immersive Social Media Applications (CARISMA) Lab opened in the fall of 2016. The department recruited Professor Gary Bente from the University of Cologne to lead the lab.
The CARISMA lab focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the effect of virtual reality (VR) experiences on human interaction and draws on basic research from fields like communication science, psychology, education, linguistics, computer science and engineering to refine and develop virtual reality technology for use in areas like education, training, therapy and rehabilitation and e-commerce.

The Social and Media Neuroscience Lab investigates how the human brain processes socially communicated information. The lab is especially interested in how information conveyed through social media motivates us and influences our decisions. To answer our research questions, we conduct behavioral experiments in the lab, online, and while collecting neuroimaging data with an MRI scanner. Ultimately, with the knowledge gained by our research, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of socially motivated human behavior.

Learn More about the Social & Media Neuroscience Lab

The Michigan State University (MSU) Speech Lab investigates speech perception and production using a wide range of approaches. One of our goals is to better understand the mechanisms underlying both normal and disordered speech perception and production. A particular focus of our lab's research at the moment is to understand how the quantity and quality of parent/child communication affects that child's development of speech comprehension and production. We are especially interested in how speech and language input affect development in infants who have disorders that affect hearing. Another focus of the lab is in researching the neuro-cognitive mechanisms underlying speech prosody (defined as the pitch, timing, rhythm, and loudness of speech). Finally, recent research in the lab aims to identify the interactions between social psychology and speech perception. The principal investigator of the MSU Speech Lab is Dr. Laura Dilley.

Learn More about the MSU Speech Perception and Production Lab

Pioneering Research

Neurocognitive Communication is one of a number of thematic, collaborative research interest areas in ComArtSci.  Although graduate students apply to one of the three doctoral areas or any masters areas in the college, they may become research collaborators in any of the interest areas.  For example, students specializing in advertising, communication, and journalism participate in the Neurocognitive Communication interest group. 

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