Maria D. Molina

Maria Molina

Assistant Professor

  • Advertising + Public Relations
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Maria D. Molina is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising & Public Relations. She received her PhD in Mass Communications from Penn State University.

Maria studies online persuasion in the context of digital health, fake news, and online privacy using a combination of experimental and computational approaches. Her research explores the social and psychological implications of sharing online, focusing on how technology shapes what we share on social media, and how we respond to Artificial Intelligence tools that curate user-generated content.

Research and Teaching

  • Sharing Online
  • Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction
  • AI-Human Interaction
  • Media Effects
  • Social Media
  • Digital Health 
  • Fake News
Thematic Research Areas

Computational Communication
Health & Risk, Environment & Science Communication
Human Centered Technology Design
Media Psychology

Research Centers and Labs

Health and Risk Communication Center

Related Work

Recent Publications

Molina, M. D., Sundar, S. S., Le, T., & Lee, D. (2021). “Fake news” is not simply false information: A concept explication and taxonomy of online content. American Behavioral Scientist, 65(2), 180-212. doi:10.1177/0002764219878224

Sundar, S. S., Kim, J., Rosson, M. B., & Molina, M. D. (2020). Online privacy heuristics that predict information disclosure. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘20), Paper 725. doi:10.1145/3313831.3376854

Molina, M. D. & Myrick, J.G. (2020) The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of fitness app use: Investigating user motivation to gain insight into the nexus of technology and fitness. Sport in Society, 1-16.

Wang, J., Molina, M. D., & Sundar, S.S. (2020). When expert recommendation contradicts peer opinion: Relative social influence of valence, group identity and artificial intelligence.  Computers in Human Behavior, 107, 1-7.

Molina, M. D. (2020). What makes an internet meme a meme? Five essential characteristics. In S. Josephson, K. Smith, & J. Kelly (Eds.)., Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media (2nd., ed.). Routledge.

Molina, M. D., & Sundar, S. S. (2020). Can mobile apps motivate fitness tracking? A study of technological affordances and workout behaviors. Health Communication, 35(1), 65-74.



Contact Information


404 Wilson Rd, Room 330
Communication Arts and Sciences Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824