Joseph N. Cappella

Joseph N. Cappella, Ph.D.

Joseph N. Cappella
  • Gerald R. Miller Professor Emeritus of Communication

Joseph Cappella conducts research on textual, visual, and video messages whose purpose is persuasive in health, political, and policy contexts. The focus is on features that make messages effective and ones that undermine message effectiveness.

Joseph N. Cappella is the Gerald R. Miller Professor Emeritus of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Cappella has been a visiting professor at Northwestern University, the University of Arizona, and a visiting scholar at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research has resulted in more than 200 articles and book chapters and four co-authored books in areas of health and political communication, social interaction, nonverbal behavior, media effects, and statistical methods. The articles have appeared in journals of psychology, communication, health, and politics. His research has been supported by grants from NIMH, NIDA, NSF, NCI, NHGRI, the FDA, the Twentieth Century Fund, and from the Markle, Ford, Carnegie, Pew, and Robert Wood Johnson foundations. He has served on the editorial boards of 20 different journals and directed 51 doctoral dissertations. He is a Fellow of the International Communication Association and its past president, a distinguished scholar of the National Communication Association, and recipient of the B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award. His book with Kathleen Hall Jamieson entitled Spiral of Cynicism (Oxford University Press 1997) has been awarded the Doris Graber book award from the American Political Science Association and the Fellows Book Award from the International Communication Association.


  • B.S., LeMoyne College, 1969
  • M.A., Michigan State, 1972
  • Ph.D., Michigan State, 1974

Selected Publications

“An Efficient Message Evaluation Protocol: Two Empirical Analyses on Positional Effects and Optimal Sample Size.” Journal of Health Communication, 2019.

“An Experimental Study of Recommendation Algorithms for Tailored Health Communication.” Computational Communication Research, 2019.

“Temporal Effects of Message Congruency on Attention to and Recall of Pictorial Health Warning Labels on Cigarette Packages.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2018.

“When Visual Cues Activate Moral Foundations: Unintended Effects of Visual Portrayals of Vaping Within Electronic Cigarette Video Advertisements.” Human Communication Research, 2018.

“Vectors into the Future of Mass and Interpersonal Communication Research: Big Data, Social Media and Computational Social Science.” Human Communication Research, 2017.

“Influence of Natural American Spirit Advertising on Current and Former Smokers’ Perceptions and Intentions.” Tobacco Control, 2017.

“The Effects of Graphic Warning Labels’ Vividness on Message Engagement and Intentions to Quit Smoking.” Communication Research, 2017.

“A Randomized Trial of the Effect of Youth Appealing E-cigarette Advertising on Susceptibility to Use E-cigarettes Among Youth.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2017.

“A Neural Model of Valuation and Information Virality.” PNAS, 2017.

“Potential Effectiveness of Pictorial Warning Labels That Feature the Images and Personal Details of Real People.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2016.

“Advancing the Evidentiary Base for Tobacco Warning Labels: A Commentary.” Social Science & Medicine, 2016.

“Does Vaping in E-Cigarette Advertisements Affect Tobacco Smoking Urge, Intentions, and Perceptions in Daily, Intermittent, and Former Smokers?” Health Communication, 2015.

“Interventions to Correct Misinformation about Tobacco Products.” Tobacco Regulatory Science, 2015.

“Assessing the Consequences of Implementing Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarette Packs for Tobacco-Related Health Disparities.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2015.

“Constructing Recommendation Systems for Effective Health Messages Using Content, Collaborative, and Hybrid Algorithms.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2015.

“Effects of Online Comments on Smokers' Perception of Anti-smoking Public Service Announcements.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 2014.

“The Effects of Smoking Cues and Argument Strength of Antismoking Advertisements on Former Smokers’ Self-efficacy, Attitude, and Intention to Refrain from Smoking.” Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2013.

“Efficiently and Effectively Evaluating Public Service Announcements: Additional Evidence for the Utility of Perceived Effectiveness.” Communication Monographs, 2012.

“Association of BDNF and COMT Genotypes with Cognitive Processing of Anti-smoking PSAs.” Genes, Brain and Behavior, 2011.

“Distraction Effects of Smoking Cues in Antismoking Messages: Examining Resource Allocation to Message Processing as a Function of Smoking Cues and Argument Strength.” Media Psychology, 2011.

“Smoking Cues, Argument Strength, and Perceived Effectiveness of Anti-smoking PSAs.” Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2011.

“Distorting Genetic Research about Cancer: From Bench Science to Press Release to Published News.” Journal of Communication, 2011.

“A Measure of Perceived Argument Strength: Reliability and Validity in Health Communication Contexts.” Communication Methods and Measures, 2011.

“Visual Attention to Anti-smoking PSAs: Smoking Cues Versus Other Attention-grabbing Features.” Human Communication Research, 2011.

Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Spiral of Cynicism: The Press and the Public Good. Oxford University Press, 1997.