Falk Wins 2017 ICA Young Scholar Award

Awardees are selected based on the strength of their published work and the potential of future scholarship.

By Julie Sloane

At the International Communication Association (ICA) 67th Annual Conference, held in San Diego this weekend, Emily Falk, Ph.D., director of the Communication Neuroscience Lab, was the recipient of ICA’s 2017 Young Scholar Award.

Falk is an Associate Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing at the Annenberg School for Communication.

The Young Scholar Award honors a scholar who is within a seven-year window of getting his or her Ph.D. and recognizes him or her for a body of work that has contributed to knowledge of the field of communication and shows promise for continued development. The selection committee judges the contribution and promise of young scholars based on the strength of published work, including its conceptual foundation and argumentative clarity, on the scholar's productivity at a given career stage, on the rigor of the research produced so far, and on the promise of existing work serving as a springboard for continuing scholarship.

Falk, who received her Psychology Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of California, Los Angeles, uses neuroimaging with the goal of attaining a deeper understanding of the cognitive, affective, and social mechanisms that underlie attitude, opinion, and behavioral formation and change, and how this understanding can be used to help improve individual’s choices through advertising or public health campaigns.

Emily Falk accepting her award
Falk receving her award from ICA Awards Chair Hilde van den Bulck

Her work traces the full process of information transmission, processing and effects — from one brain region to another, from one person to another, and ultimately from individuals to larger social, cultural and political communities.

Some of her recent work has been breaking new ground in the way that neural networks and social networks influence and inform one another.

Falk has published more than three dozen peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as book chapters and other research pieces. In the last year, she has had two articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Her lab includes more than 15 research staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

She has received millions of dollars in research funding, given more than three dozen invited lectures, and won numerous awards: the Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Rising Star Award from the Association for Psychological Science, and the Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

At ICA’s 2017 Annual Conference, Falk had multiple papers and received three top paper awards: “Neural Activity During Anti-smoking Message Exposure Predicts Subsequent Message Elaboration,” “Increasing Receptivity to Health Communications: Effects of Self-Transcendence and Affirmation Priming on Neural Responses to Health Messages and Behavior Change,” and “Who Likes to Be Reachable? Availability Preferences, Tie Strength, and Perceptions of Social Capital.”

She was previously an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan before joining Annenberg’s faculty in 2013.