Interpersonal Communication/Social Influence

Interpersonal communication focuses on examining the interactions between individuals, which may take the form of dyadic relationships (e.g., romantic partners, or provider/patient) as well as individuals within a social network (e.g., work, church, family and supportive others). Faculty members in our department have examined how interpersonal communication can be influenced by (a) the medium, such as computer-mediated communication and social media, (b) the process, such as deception, conflict, and psychological factors influencing persuasion and argumentation processes, and (c) the dynamics of interpersonal coordination, such as identity construction, self-presentation, and social support.

The social influence domain includes persuasion, compliance gaining, interpersonal influence, and societal change effects that may involve risk, crisis, political, and/or health campaigns within social and/or mass mediated contexts. Research typically investigates theory-driven approaches to various cognitive, affective, and motivational processes associated with how people think of, feel about, and respond to a range of influence experiences. Study within the department often focuses on the methods sources employ to manipulate targets in various contexts, as well as the means by which those targets resist, adapt to, and respond to such influence.

Typical Graduate Level Course Offerings:

 Comm 5113 Nonverbal Communication
 Comm 5213 Interpersonal Communication
 Comm 5233 Communication and Social Change
 Comm 5243 Language Perspectives of Communication
 Comm 5353 Conflict Management
 Comm 5393 Risk and Crisis Communication
 Comm 5453 Social Influence
 Comm 5553 Persuasive Communication Campaigns
 Comm 5810 Special Topics in Communication
 Comm 6233 Small Group Processes
 Comm 6453 Seminar in Social Influence
 Comm 6023 Communication Research Task Groups
 Comm 6960 Directed Readings

Current Faculty with Research and/or Teaching Interests 

John Banas
Elena Bessarabova
Ioana Cionea
Elaine Hsieh
Amy Johnson
Pat Meirick
Claude Miller
Norman Wong

Recent Dissertations in Interpersonal Communication/Social Influence

Kathryn Lookadoo (2017). The Addition of valence and narrative endings’ influence on the risk convergence model. 

Shr-Jie Liu (2017). Reactance Theory and Self-Construal in the East and West.

Haiying Kong (2016). Finding peace in life’s unexpected journey: The processes of grieving and identity transformation for mothers of children with down syndrome.

Erich Hayes (2015). Television’s cultivation of attitudes about online romantic relationships.

Beller, J. (2014). Terror management, religious orientation, and dissociation: Addressing Allport's paradox of religion and racism. 


Recent Faculty and Graduate Student Publications in Interpersonal/Social Influence

Adame, B., & Miller, C. H. (in press). Risk perception and earthquake preparedness motivation: Predicting responses to a Cascadia Subduction Zone catastrophic event. In V. Fletcher & J. Lovejoy (Eds.), The really big one: Risk, health, and environmental communication. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Adame, B. & Miller, C. H. (2016) Vested interest: Developing scales for assessing flooding preparedness, Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 25, pp. 282–297.

Adame, B.J. & Miller, C. H. (2015) Vested interest & disaster preparedness: Strategic campaign message design. Health Communication, 30, 271–281

Averbeck, J. M., & Miller, C. H. (2014). Expanding language expectancy theory: The suasory effects of lexical complexity and syntactic complexity on effective message design. Communication Studies, 65, 72-95

Bessarabova, E., & Miller, C. H., Russell, J. (2017) A further exploration of the effects of restoration postscripts on reactance, Western Journal of Communication, 81, 385-403.

Bessarabova, E., Piercy, C., King, S., Vincent, C., Dunbar, N. E., Burgoon, J. K., Miller, C. H., Jensen, M., Elkins, A., Wilson, D., Wilson, S. N., & Lee, Y.-H. (2016). Mitigating bias blind spot via a serious video game. Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 452–466.

Bessarabova, E. (2014). In-group favoritism and deception: A comparison of Russian and American cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 39, 9-21.

Bostwick, E. N., & Johnson, A. J. (in press). Family secrets: The influences of family communication patterns and parent-child conflict styles in the likelihood of telling a secret. Communication Reports.

Cionea, I. A., Hoelscher, C. S., & Ileş, I. A. (2017). Arguing goals: An initial assessment of a new measurement instrument. Communication Reports, 30, 51-65. doi:10.1080/08934215.2016.1184695

Cionea, I. A., Richards, A. S., & Straub, S. K. (2017). Factors predicting the intent to engage in arguments in close relationships: A revised model. Argumentation, 31, 121-163. doi: 10.1007/s10503-016-9400-z

Cionea, I. A., Johnson, A. J., Bruscella, J. S., & Van Gilder, B. (2015). Taking conflict personally and the use of the demand/withdraw pattern in intraethnic serial arguments. Argumentation and Advocacy, Special Issue: 30 Years of Research, 52, 32-43.  

Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Miller, C. H., & Bessarabova, E., et al. (2017). Mitigation of cognitive bias with a serious game: Two experiments testing feedback timing and source. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 7, 86-100. DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2017100105

Dunbar, N. E., & Johnson, A. J. (2015). A test of dyadic power theory: Control attempts used in interpersonal conflict, Journal of Argumentation in Context, 4, 42-62.

Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Bessarabova, E., Burgoon, J. K., Bernard, D. R., Robertson, K. J., Kelley, K. M., Adame, B., & Eckstein, J. M. (2014). Empowered by persuasive deception: The effects of power and deception on dominance, credibility, and decision making. Communication Research, 41, 852-876.

Dunbar, N. E., & Johnson, A. J. (2015). A test of dyadic power theory: Control attempts used in interpersonal conflict, Journal of Argumentation in Context, 4, 42-62.

Dunbar, N. E., Miller, C. H., Adame, B. J., Elizondo, J., Wilson, S. N., Lane, B. L., Allums Kauffman, A., Bessarabova, E., Jensen, M. L., Straub, S. K., Lee, Y-H., Burgoon, J. K., Valacich, J. J., Jenkins, J., Zhang, J. (2014). Implicit and explicit training in the mitigation of cognitive bias through the use of a serious game. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 307-318.

Hsieh, E. (2017). Cross-cultural care: When providers and patients do not share the same language. In B. F. Sharf, J. Yamasaki, & P. Geist-Martin (Eds.), Storied health and illness: Personal, cultural & political complexities (2nd ed., pp. 69-71). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Hsieh, E. (2016). Bilingual health communication: Working with interpreters in cross-cultural care. New York, NY: Routledge.

Hsieh, E. (2016). Voices of the homeless: An emic approach to the experiences of health disparities faced by people who are homeless. Social Work in Public Health, 31, 328-340.

Hsieh, E. (2017). Surviving violence in everyday life: A communicative approach to the homelessness. Social Work in Public Health, 2, 110-121.

Hsieh, E. (2017). The model of bilingual health communication: Theorizing interpreter-mediated medical encounters. In E. A. Jacobs & L. C. Diamond (Eds.), Providing health care in the context of language barriers: International perspectives. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters (pp. 34-55).

Hsieh, E. (2015). Not just “getting by”: Factors influencing providers’ choice of interpreters. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 30, 75-82.

Hsieh, E., Bruscella, J., Zanin, A., & Kramer, E. M. (2016). “It’s not like you need to live 10 or 20 years”: Challenges to patient-centered care in gynecologic oncologist-patient interactions. Qualitative Health Research, 26, 1191-1202.

Hsieh, E., & Nicodemus, B. (2015). Conceptualizing emotion in healthcare interpreting: A normative approach to interpreters' emotion work. Patient Education and Counseling, 98, 1474-1481

Hsieh, E. & Terui, S. (2015). Inherent tensions and challenges of provider-patient communication: Implications for interpreter training in health care settings. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 43, 141-162.

Ivanov, B., Sims, J. D., Compton, J., Miller, C. H., Parker, K. A., Parker, J. L., Harrison, K. J., & Averbeck, J. M. (2015). The general content of post-inoculation talk: Recalled issue-specific conversations following inoculation treatments. Western Journal of Communication. 79, 218-238.

Jensen, M., Lee, Y.-H., Piercy, C. W., Dunbar, N. E., Elizondo, J., Bessarabova, E., Twyman, N. W., Burgoon, J. K., Valacich, J. S., Adame, B., Miller, C. H., Wilson, S. (2016). Failure and engagement in a complex digital training game: A multi-method examination. AIS Transactions on Human Computer Interaction, 8, 1-19.

Johnson, A. J., & Cionea, I. A. (forthcoming 2018). A new measure for argument topic interdependence in serial arguments. In R. Lake (Ed.), Recovering argument.

Johnson, A. J., Bostwick, E. N., & Bassick, M. (2017). Long-distance versus geographically close romantic relationships: The effects of social media on the development and maintenance of these relationships. In N. Punyanunt-Carter & J. S. Wrench (Eds.), Swipe right for love: The impact of social media in modern romantic relationships.Lexington Books.

Johnson, A. J., & Cionea, I. A. (2016). Serial arguments in interpersonal relationships: Relational dynamics and interdependence. In J. Samp (Ed.), Communicating interpersonal conflict in close relationships. New York, NY: Routledge.

Johnson, A. J., & Cionea, I. (2016). Serial arguments in interpersonal relationships: Current knowledge and future directions. In J. A. Samp (Ed.), Communicating interpersonal conflict in close relationships: Contexts, challenges, and Opportunities.

Johnson, A. J., Bostwick, E., & Anderson, C. (2016). How do computer-mediated channels negatively impact existing interpersonal relationships? In E. G. Petty & S. D. Long (Eds.), Contexts of the dark side of Communication, Peter Lang.

Johnson, A. J. (2016). Communication in stepfamilies. In C. Berger and M. Roloff (Eds.), International encyclopedia of interpersonal communication. Hoboken, N. J.: Wiley.

Johnson, A. J., Hample, D., & Cionea, I. A. (2014). Understanding argumentation in interpersonal communication: The implications of distinguishing between public and personal topics. Communication yearbook, 38, 144-173.

Johnson, A. J., Kelley, K., Liu, S-J., Averbeck, J., King, S., & Bostwick, E. (2014). Family serial arguments: Beliefs about the argument and perceived stress from the argument. Communication Reports, 27, 116-128.

Lee, Y-H., Dunbar, N. E., Miller, C. H., Lane, B. L., Jensen, M. L., Bessarabova, E., Burgoon, J. K., Adame, B. J., Valacich, J. J., Adame, E. A., Bostwick, E., Piercy, C. W., Elizondo, J., &Wilson, S. N. (2016). Training anchoring and representativeness bias mitigation through a digital game. Simulation & Gaming 47, 751–779, doi:10.1177/1046878116662955

Lookadoo, K., & Wong, N. C. H. (2016). Kickstarting Veronica Mars: Rekindling a parasocial relationship. In D. M. Macey, K. M. Ryan, & N. J. Springer (Eds.), Friends, lovers, co-workers, and community: Everything I know about relationships I learned from television. Langham, MD: Lexington Books (pp. 211-228)

Mason, A.M. & Miller, C. H. (2015). The ability of inoculation to confer resistance to potentially deceptive health-nutrition related advertising claims. Health Education Journal. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from the Sage Journals Website:

Meirick, P. C. (2016). Motivated reasoning, accuracy, and updating in perceptions of Bush’s legacy. Social Science Quarterly. Published online, May 31, 2016. DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.12301

Meirick, P. C. & Bessarabova. E. (2015). Epistemic factors in selective exposure and political misperceptions on the right and left. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. Published online, November 25, 2015. DOI:10.1111/asap.12101

Meirick, P. C. & Schartel Dunn, S. (2015). Obama as exemplar: Debate exposure and implicit and explicit affect toward African-Americans. Howard Journal of Communications. 26 (1), 57-73, DOI: 10.1080/10646175.2014.986312

Miller, C. H., & Cortes Quantip, R. J. (2017). Anger in health and risk messaging. In R. Perrott (Ed.) Encyclopedia of health and risk message design and processing, New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 117-128).

Miller, C. H., & Massey, Z. B. (in press). Meaning-making, communication, and terror management processes. Handbook of terror management. San Diego: Elsevier.

Miller, C. H., (2016). Hedonic relevance and outcome relevant involvement. In D. K. Kim & J. Dearing (Eds.) Health Communication Measures. New York: Peter Lang. pp. 99-106.

Miller, C. H., (2016). Sensation seeking scales for adolescents and emerging adults. In D. K. Kim & J. Dearing (Eds.) Health Communication Measures. New York: Peter Lang. pp. 213-222.

Miller, C. H., & Adame, B.J. (2016). Scales for measuring the dimensions of vested interest. In D. K. Kim & J. Dearing (Eds.) Health Communication Measures. New York: Peter Lang. pp. 265-278 

Miller, C. H., (2015). Persuasion and psychological reactance: The effects of explicit, high-controlling language. In R. Shulze & H. Pishwa (Eds), The exercise of power in communication: Devices, reception and reaction. London: Palgrave McMillan. pp 269-286.

Miller, C. H., Ivanov, B., Landau, M. J., Masad, D., Semmler, S., & White, J. A. (2014). Differences in the experience and expression of sexual jealousy: A terror management theory perspective. Universal Journal of Psychology, 2, 65-75.

Richards, A. S., & Cionea, I. A. (2015). Extending the argument engagement model: Expected utility and interacting traits as predictors of the intent to argue with friends. Journal of Argumentation in Context, 4, 110-133. 

Roper, R., Johnson, A. J., & Bostwick, E. N. (2017). A target’s perspective: Verbal aggressiveness, coping strategies, and relational harm. Communication Research Reports, 34, 21-28.


Recent Funding in Interpersonal/Social Influence

Teaching Bias Mitigation through Training Games with Application in Credibility Attribution, NSF Division Of Information & Intelligent Systems. Co-PI, Claude Miller, 2015-2017, $549,000.