Norah Dunbar

A photo of Norah Dunbar
Professor & Chair
Interpersonal Communication

Office Hours

Fall 2018:T 11:00-12:00; TH 1:00-2:00 or by Appointment
Winter 2019: By appointment

Contact Phone


Office Location

SSMS 4109


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; 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 65 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has presented over 100 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 current Chair of the Communication Department at UCSB.



Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program (MURI), 2016-2020.  PI: VS Subrahmanian (Dunbar Co-PI), 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.
Center for Identification Technology Research Small Project Grant, Summer-Fall 2009. PI: Norah Dunbar, The Effect of Power and Modality on the Detection of Deception, Amount: $50,000.


Recent Publications, 2017/2018:

Bernhold, Q., Merolla, A., Dunbar, N. E. & Giles, H. (in press). Relational change following hurtful Conflict: An extension of identity implications theory. Human Communication Research.

Dunbar, N. E., Bernhold, Q., Burgoon, J. K., & Jensen, M. L. (in press). Anatomy of a confession: An examination of pre- and post-confession nonverbal cues and confession-eliciting strategies by interviewers. Western Journal of Communication.

Dunbar, N. E., Miller, C., Lee, Y-. H., Jensen, M. L., Anderson, C., Adams, A. S., Elizondo Cecena, F. J., Thompson, W., Massey, Z., Nicholls, S. B., Ralston, R., Donovan, J., Mathews, E., Roper, B., & Wilson, S. (2018). Reliable deception cues training in an interactive video game. Computers in Human Behavior, 85, 74-85. DOI 10.1016/j.chb.2018.03.027

Adams, A., Miles, J. Dunbar, N. E., & Giles, H. (2018). Communication accommodation in text messages: Exploring liking, power, and sex as predictors of textisms. Journal of Social Psychology, Special Issue: Interpersonal Relationships in the Digital Age. DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2017.1421895

Denault, V. & Dunbar, N. E. (in press). Credibility assessment and deception detection in courtrooms: Hazards and challenges for scholars and legal practitioners. In T. Docan-Morgan (Ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication. Palgrave Press.

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

Dunbar, N. E. & Bernhold, Q. (in press). Power and nonverbal behavior. In C. R. Agnew & J. J. Harmon (Eds.), Power in Close Relationships. Cambridge University Press.

Dunbar, N. E. & Adams, A. (2018). A dyadic power theory approach to family communication. In D. O. Braithwaite, E. Suter & K. Floyd, (Eds.) Engaging Theories in Family Communication (2nd ed, pp.122-131). New York: Routledge.

Burgoon, J. K. & Dunbar, N. E. (2018). Coding Nonverbal Behavior. In Brauner, E., Boos, M. & Kolbe, M. Cambridge Handbook of Group Interaction Analysis (pp. 104-120). Cambridge University Press.

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. et al. (2017). Mitigating Cognitive Bias Through the Use of Serious Games: Effects of Feedback. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 7(4), 86-100. DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2017100105

Dunbar, N. E. (2017). Intergroup Deception. In H. Giles and J. Harwood (Eds.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Intergroup Communication. Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.486

Ness, A., Johnson, G., Ault, M., Taylor, W. D., Griffith, J. A., Connelly, S., Dunbar, N. E. & Jensen, M. J. (2017). Reactions to ideological websites: The impact of emotional appeals, credibility cues, and pre-existing attitudes. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 496-511. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2017.02.061.

Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Harvell, L. A., Kelley, K. M. & Burgoon, J. K. (2017). The Viability of Using Rapid Judgments as a Method of Deception Detection. Communication Methods and Measures. DOI:10.1080/19312458.2016.1276893. Published Online First:

Ault, M. K., Ness, A. M., Taylor, W. D., Johnson, G., Connelly, M. S., Jensen, M. L., & Dunbar, N. E. (2017). Ideological lens matters: Credibility heuristics, pre-existing attitudes, and reactions to messages on ideological websites. Computers in Human Behavior, 68(3), 315-325. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2016.11.053

Burgoon, J. K., Dunbar, N. E. & Elkins, A. (2017). Analyzing video and audio nonverbal dynamics: Kinesics, proxemics, haptics and vocalics. In A. Van Lear & D. Canary (Eds.), Researching Communication Interaction Behavior:  A Sourcebook of Methods and Measures (pp. 35-44). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Burgoon, J. K., Dunbar, N. E. & Giles, H. (2017). Interaction Coordination and Adaptation.  In J. K. Burgoon, N. Magnenat-Thalmann, M. Pantic, & A. Vinciarelli (Eds.), Social Signal Processing. Cambridge University Press.

Dunbar, N. E. (2017). Nonverbal communication.  In M. Allen (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods (pp.1098-1099). Sage.

Notable Older Publications:

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.


Fall 2018:  Comm 89, Communication Theory

Spring 2019: Comm 146 (Online), Understanding Deceptive Communication