Research Areas

Annenberg faculty, students, and staff have particular expertise in several intersecting and evolving research areas.  Learn more about these areas below.

Recognizing practical struggles around the world, Annenberg faculty, students, and scholars working in this area embrace pluralism and boldness in theoretical, historical, and empirical studies of media, communication, and political activism for social justice. Of special importance are questions of communication, culture, and...
Communication neuroscience looks at how activity in the brain is linked to behaviors at the individual, group, and population level. Using fMRI and other imaging techniques, Annenberg researchers investigate how our neural responses to stimuli relate to attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, receptivity to messaging, and the structure...
The relevance of journalism to the study of communication is indisputable. Annenberg’s investment in critical journalism studies stretches across occupational, institutional, political, economic and technological affordances and constraints as they take on social and cultural forms. Thinking about journalism across its local,...
Photo of Tibetan religious text carved in stone Buddhist sutras at Annenberg School for Communication ASC UPenn
“Culture” can be defined as the rituals, practices, and symbolic and physical artifacts that shape the behaviors of individuals, groups, institutions, and societies. Communication is central to the construction, maintenance and transmission of culture, as well as to cultural resistance and change. And it is the result of...
Network connections UPenn ASC University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
Digital media and social networks have radically changed the communication environment, albeit at different paces and in different ways across social groups and global regions. Annenberg’s research in this field explores the development, diffusion, uses, and individual and collective social, political, cultural, and economic...
Earth UPenn ASC University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
The form and content of communication both influences and is influenced by the regional, national, and global contexts in which it occurs. In this area of research Annenberg explores topics related to media institutions and systems, culture and communication, media and communication effects, digital media and social networks,...
Pills at Annenberg School for Communication ASC UPenn
Effective communication among and between healthcare providers, policymakers, the media, and the public plays a major role in determining the quality of personal and public health. Annenberg examines the role of interpersonal and mass-mediated communication on the development, maintenance of, and changes in the health-related...
Old Car Driving Past Propaganda Poster UPenn ASC University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
Looking at the influence of interpersonal and mass mediated communication on the attitudes and actions of individuals, groups, institutions, and systems in public and private life, Annenberg’s media and communication effects research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the process whereby individual and collective...
Monitors Screens Lit Up UPenn ASC University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication
Communication cannot occur in a vacuum; its content, form, flow and impact depends on and varies across the institutions and systems within which it occurs. This area of research explores the history, design, diffusion and regulation of traditional and emerging media, from specific technologies, mediums, organizations, and...
Photo of the word vote pinned to a bulletin board at Annenberg School for Communication ASC UPenn
Regardless of the form of government, the art and science of politics depends heavily on communication among and between political elites, the media, and citizens. Annenberg's political science research examines the role of interpersonal and mass-mediated communication on the attitudes, opinions, information-processing, and...
Photo of professional camcorder on tripod at Annenberg School for Communication ASC UPenn
The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” only begins to capture the importance of the visual in communication. Visual communication has been a key area of research at Annenberg since the school first opened in 1959. Today, this area of research explores the history, construction, use, and influence of images and other...