Emily Falk, Ph.D.

Portrait of Emily B. Falk
Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing

Emily Falk is Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, with secondary appointments in Psychology and Marketing at Penn. Falk employs a variety of methods in the performance of her research, with a focus on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She has worked to develop a program of research that links neural activity (in response to persuasive messages) to behaviors at the individual, group, and population levels. In particular, Falk is interested in predicting behavior change following exposure to persuasive messages and in understanding what makes successful ideas spread (e.g. through social networks, through cultures). At present, much of her research focuses on health communication and linking neural responses to health messages to population level behavioral outcomes; other areas of interest include political communication, cross-cultural communication, and the spread of culture, social norms, and sticky ideas. Falk's work has been funded by grants from NCI, NICHD, ARL, DARPA, and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award. Prior to her doctoral work, she was a Fulbright Fellow in health policy, studying health communication in Canada. She received her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Brown University, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Selected Publications


Uploaded on Friday, November 20, 2020 - 3:54pm
Changing human behavior is a difficult thing — even when a person wants to change. Using the tools of neuroscience, Emily Falk, Ph.D., studies how...
Uploaded on Friday, November 6, 2015 - 2:17pm
Why do we continue to make unhealthy and even dangerous choices, such as smoking, when these behaviors are changeable? Determining what makes people...
Uploaded on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 4:07pm
In a new study led by Professor Emily Falk, brain scans of 50 smokers in Michigan were able to help predict the results of an email campaign sent to...
Uploaded on Friday, May 1, 2015 - 12:05pm
Professor Emily Falk talks about her research on how using self-affirmation can open our brains to accept advice that is hard to hear. Related:...

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Courses Taught

COMM 310: The Communication Research Experience

COMM 423: Communication and Social Influence Laboratory

COMM 811: Social Influence, Media Effects and the Brain 

COMM 883: Describing Your Data

COMM 898: Social Influence, Media Effects and the Brain

Emily Falk's research focuses on the brain as a window to understanding attitude and behavior change at the individual, group, and population levels.
Pronouns: she/her

Falk's Network

  • Communication Neuroscience
  • Health Communication
  • Media and Communication Effects
  • Political Communication
  • Annenberg Public Policy Center
  • Center for Media at Risk
  • Communication Neuroscience Lab