Portrait of David Lydon-Staley

David Lydon-Staley, Ph.D.

Portrait of David Lydon-Staley
  • Assistant Professor of Communication
  • Principal Investigator, Addiction, Health, & Adolescence (AHA!) Lab

David Lydon-Staley’s research focuses on moment-to-moment and day-to-day fluctuations in brain, behavior, and interpersonal and media environments to provide insight into substance use, emotion dynamics, and curiosity across the lifespan.

David Lydon-Staley is an Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Lydon-Staley’s research program pursues three main lines of research with media and interpersonal communication at their heart: 1) curiosity across expansive media environments and its relevance for health communication efforts; 2) the role of media engagement and interpersonal communication in emotion dynamics; 3) a dynamic network perspective on substance use. Common to all of his work, is an emphasis on intensively-sampling brain, behavior, and interpersonal and media environments as they unfold during daily life. He makes use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), experimental laboratory paradigms, and experience sampling methodologies coupled with intensive-longitudinal data and network analysis techniques.

Lydon-Staley’s work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Jacobs Foundation, the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, the Center for Curiosity, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and his Ph.D. in Human Development & Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Annenberg, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Complex Systems Lab of Professor Danielle Bassett in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.


  • B.A., Trinity College Dublin, 2011
  • M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 2014
  • Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2017

Selected Publications