Norah Dunbar

A photo of Norah Dunbar
Interpersonal Communication

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Deceptive Communication, Credibility Assessment, Deception Detection, Power and Dominance In Interpersonal Interaction, Computer-Mediated Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Observational and Experimental Research Methods


PhD, Communication, University of Arizona, 2000.
MA, Human Communication, California State University Chico, 1996. 
BA, Speech Communication, University of Nevada Reno, 1994.


Dr. Dunbar is a Professor of Communication at UCSB. She teaches courses in nonverbal and interpersonal communication, communication theory, and deception detection.  She is also Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Information, Technology & Society; Center for Responsible Machine Learning; the Center for Digital Games Research; and the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program.  She has received over $13 Million in research funding from agencies such as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Center for Identification Technology Research. She has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles and has presented over 120 papers at National and International conferences. Her research has appeared in top journals in her discipline including Communication Research, Communication Monographs, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication as well as interdisciplinary journals such as Journal of Management Information Systems and Computers in Human Behavior. She has served on the editorial board of over a dozen disciplinary journals and as the Chair of the Nonverbal Division of the National Communication Association in 2014-2016.  She is the immediate past Chair of the Communication Department at UCSB.

Download her 2021 co-edited book, Detecting Trust and Deception in Group Interaction here:

Here is a video of Norah Dunbar explaining her research in deception detection:



National Science Foundation, The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, 2018-2023. (PI: Divya Srinivasan, Virginia Tech). Total project amount: $2,981,870.

Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program (MURI), 2016-2021.  PI: VS Subrahmanian (Dunbar Co-PI), Total Project Amount: $6,250,000.

National Science Foundation, Cyberlearning Division, Information and Intelligent Systems, 2015-2017. PI: Norah Dunbar, Amount: $549,000.

Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, SIRIUS Program, 2011-2013. PI: Norah Dunbar, Amount: $5,385,700.

Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, 2012-2014, PI: Norah Dunbar, Amount: $240,000.

National Science Foundation, Human-Centered Computing Division, Information and Intelligent Systems, 2011-2014. PI: Shane Connelly (Dunbar Co-PI), Amount: $500,000.

Center for Identification Technology Research Small Project Grant, Fall 2011-Spring 2012. PI: Judee Burgoon, (Dunbar Co-PI), Identifying Behavioral Indicators of Cognitive Load Associated with Deception and Interview Questions. Amount: $40,000.

Center for Identification Technology Research Small Project Grant, Fall 2010-Spring 2011. PI: Norah Dunbar, Dyadic Synchrony as a Measure of Trust & Veracity, Amount: $35,000


Recent Publications, 2020 & 2021

Subrahmanian, V. S., Burgoon, J. K., & Dunbar, N. E. (Eds.) (2021). Detecting Trust and Deception in Group Interaction. Springer

Dunbar, N. E. & Abra, G. A (in press). Dyadic Power Theory Explanation of the Demand-Withdraw Interaction Pattern.  Personal Relationships.

Afifi, T. D., Collins, N., Rand, K., Fujiwara, K., Mazur, A., Otmar, C., Dunbar, N. E., Harrison, K., & Logsdon, R. (in press). Testing the Feasibility of Virtual Reality with Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments and their Family Members who Live at a Distance. Innovation in Aging.

Burgoon, J. K., Wang, X., Chen, X., Pentland, S. J. & Dunbar, N. E. (2021).  Nonverbal Behaviors "Speak" Relational Messages of Dominance, Trust, and Composure. Frontiers in Psychology, section Personality and Social Psychology. Published Online. Manuscript ID: 624177.

Lee, Y., Dunbar, N. E., Miller, C. H., Bessarabova, E., Jensen, M., Wilson, S. N., Elizondo, J., Burgoon, J., & Valacich, J. (2021). Mitigating bias and improving professional decision-making through persuasive training games.  In J. Raessens, B. Schouten, J. Jansz, T. Conde-Pumpido, M. Kors, & R. Jacobs (Eds.), Persuasive Gaming in Context. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam University Press.

Stathopoulos A., Han L., Dunbar N., Burgoon J. K., Metaxas D. (2021) Deception Detection in Videos Using Robust Facial Features. In: Arai K., Kapoor S., Bhatia R. (eds) Proceedings of the Future Technologies Conference (FTC) 2020, Volume 3. FTC 2020. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 1290. Springer. Available:

Bernhold, Q., Dunbar, N. E., Giles, H. (in press). Group-Based Identity Accommodation and Overaccommodation as Predictors of Instrumental Caregiving Intentions and Expectations in Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Fujiwara, K., Bernhold, Q. S., Dunbar, N. E., Otmar, C. D., & Hansia, M. (2020). Comparing Manual and Automated Coding Methods of Nonverbal Synchrony. Communication Methods and Measures. DOI: 10.1080/19312458.2020.1846695

Dunbar, N. E., Bernhold, Q., Hansia, M. A (in press). Test of the Verifiable Details Approach for Examining Alibis. Western Journal of Communication.

Denault, V., Dunbar, N. E., & Plusquellec, P. (2020). The detection of deception during trials: Ignoring the nonverbal communication of witnesses is not the solution - A response to Vrij and Turgeon (2018). International Journal of Evidence and Proof, 24(1), 3-11. DOI: 10.1177/1365712719851133

Denault, V., Plusquellec, P., Jupe, L. M., St-Yves, M., Dunbar, N. E., Hartwig, M., … van Koppen, P. J. (2020). The analysis of nonverbal communication: The dangers of pseudoscience in security and justice contexts. Anuario de Psicología Jurídica, [Yearbook of Psychology] 30, 1-12. doi: 10.5093/apj2019a9.    [This article is a translation of the French article “L’ analyse de la communication non verbale: Les dangers de la pseudoscience en contextes de sécurité et de justice” published with the authorization of the French journal Revue Internationale de Criminologie et de Police Technique et Scientifique.]

Dunbar, N. E., Giles, H., Bernhold, Q., Adams, A., Giles, M., Zamanzadeh, N., Gangi, K., Coveleski, S. & Fujiwara, K. (2020). Strategic synchrony and rhythmic similarity in lies about ingroup affiliation. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 44, 153-172. DOI: 10.1007/s10919-019-00321-2.


Notable Older Publications:

Miller, C. H., Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Massey, Z., Lee, Y-. H., Nicholls, S. B., Anderson, C., Adams, A. S., Elizondo Cecena, F. J., Thompson, W., & Wilson, S. N. (2019). Training Law Enforcement Officers to Identify Reliable Deception Cues with an Interactive Digital Game. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 9(3), 1-22. DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2019070101.

Denault, V. & Dunbar, N. E. (2017). Nonverbal communication in courtrooms: Scientific assessments or modern trials by ordeal? The Advocates’ Quarterly, 47(3), 280-308

Dunbar, N. E., Gangi, K., Coveleski, S., Adams, A., Bernhold, Q., & Giles, H. (2016). When is it Acceptable to Lie? Interpersonal and Intergroup Perspectives on Deception. Communication Studies, 67, 129-146. doi: 10.1080/10510974.2016.1146911

Dunbar, N.E., Jensen, M. J., Kelley, K. M., Robertson, K. J., Bernard, D. R., Adame, B., & Burgoon, J. K. (2015). Effects of veracity, modality and sanctioning on credibility assessment during mediated and unmediated interviews. Communication Research, 42(5) 649–674.  (Published online first in 2013).

Yu, X., Zhang, S., Yan, Z., Yang, F., Huang, J., Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L. Burgoon, J. K., Metaxas, D. M. (2015). Is Interactional Dissynchrony a Clue to Deception? Insights from Automated Analysis of Nonverbal Visual Cues. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 45, 506 - 520. DOI: 10.1109/TCYB.2014.2329673

Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Tower, D. C., Burgoon, J. K. (2014). Synchronization of nonverbal behaviors in detecting mediated and non-mediated deception. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 38, 355-376.

Dunbar, N. E., Connelly, M. S., Jensen, M. L., Adame, B., Rozzell, B., Griffith, J., & O’Hair, H. D. (2014). Fear appeals, message processing cues, and credibility in the websites of violent, ideological, and non-ideological groups. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19, 871–889.

Dunbar, N. E., Wilson, S., Adame, B., Elizondo, J., Jensen, M. L., Miller, C.,  Allums. A., Seltsam, T., Bessarabova, E., Vincent, C., Straub, S., Ralston, R., Dulawan, C. L., Ramirez, D., Squire, K., Valacich, J. & Burgoon, J. K. (2013). The Development of a Training Game for the Mitigation of Cognitive Bias: The Case Study of MACBETH. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 3(4), 7-26

Dunbar, N. E. & Jensen, M. (2011). Digital Deception in Personal Relationships. In K. B. Wright & L. M. Webb (Eds.), Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships (pp. 324-343). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Dunbar, N. E. & Abra, G. (2010). Observations of dyadic power in interpersonal interaction. Communication Monographs, 77(4), 657-684.

Dunbar, N. E. & Burgoon, J. K. (2005). Perceptions of power and interactional dominance in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(2), 231-257.

Dunbar, N. E. & Burgoon, J. K. (2005). The measurement of nonverbal dominance. In V. Manusov (Ed.), The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures: Going Beyond Words (pp. 361-374). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Burgoon, J. K., Bonito, J. A., Ramirez, Jr. A., Dunbar, N. E., Kam, K. & Fischer, J. (2002). Testing the interactivity principle: Effects of mediation, verbal and nonverbal modalities, and propinquity in decision-making interactions. Journal of Communication, 52(3), 657-677.

Burgoon, J. K., & Dunbar, N. E. (2000). An interactionist perspective on dominance-submission: Interpersonal dominance as a dynamic, situationally contingent social skill. Communication Monographs, 67(1), 96-121.


A complete and current CV is available by request from Dr. Dunbar


Summer 2021: Comm W107

Spring 2022: Comm W107 & W146