Robin Nabi

Media Effects & Health Communication

Contact Phone


Office Location

SSMS 4137


Persuasion, Emotion, Mass Media Effects, Health Communication


Robin Nabi received her AB from Harvard College and her MA/PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.  Her research focuses on the interplay between emotion and cognition in understanding the influence of mediated messages. Specific interests include the effects of discrete emotions on the cognitive processing and persuasive effect of health and social issue messages, emotion’s role in the perception of risk and decision-making, and the effects of entertainment media on attitude and behavior change.  She has published over 80 articles and book chapters in these areas and co-edited of the SAGE Handbook of Media Processes and Effects. She has served as a managing editor of Media Psychology, as associate editor of the Journal of Communication, and on the editorial board of numerous top communication journals.  She is a past chair of the Mass Communication Division of the International Communication Association as well as the Communication and Social Cognition Division of the National Communication Association.  She is a recent recipient of the McQuail Award for the best article advancing communication theory published in a peer-reviewed journal in the past year, the 2018 Innovation in Theory Award from the Mass Communication Division of ICA, and is a 2017 inductee as a Fellow of the International Communication Association. 

Prof. Nabi’s teaches courses in persuasion, communication and emotion, health communication, and mass media effects. Her current research projects focus on emotional sequencing in persuasive messages, the emotional framing of health news, and media use as relates to stress and well-being.


PhD 1998 Communication Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania
MA 1994 Communication Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania
AB 1990 Government Harvard University

Academic Positions

2009-present   Professor,      Unviersiy of California, Santa Barbara, CA

2005-present   Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

2004-2005      Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

1998-2004      Assistant Professor, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Research Interests

Emotion, social influence, and decision-making

Mass media messages and health

Social and psychological effects of the mass media



Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Nabi, R. L., & Myrick, J. G. (2018). Uplifting fear appeals: Considering the role of hope in fear-based persuasive messages. Health Communication, 1-12.

Nabi, R. L., & Prestin, A. (2016). Unrealistic hope vs. unnecessary fear: Exploring how sensationalistic news stories influence health behavioral motivation. Health Communication.

Nabi, R. L. (2016). Laughing in the face of fear (of disease detection): Using humor to promote cancer self-examination behavior. Health Communication.

Nabi, R. L., Prestin, A., & So, J. (2016).  Could watching TV be good for you? Examining how media consumption patterns relate to salivary cortisol. Health Communication.

Nabi, R. L. (2015). Emotional flow in persuasive health messages. Health Communication, 30, 114-124.

Nabi, R. L., & Green, M. C. (2015). The role of a narrative’s emotional flow in promoting persuasive outcomes. Media Psychology, 18, 137-162.

Nabi, R. L., Prestin, A., & So, J. (2013). Facebook friends with (health) benefits: Exploring social network site use and perceptions of social support, stress, illness, and well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16, 721-727.

Nabi, R. L. (2010). The case for emphasizing discrete emotions in communication research. Communication Monographs, 77, 153-159.

Nabi, R. L., Roskos-Ewoldsen, D., & Dillman-Carpentier, F. (2008). Subjective knowledge and fear appeal effectiveness: Implications for message design. Health Communication.

Nabi, R. L., Moyer-Guse, E., & Byrne, S. (2007). All joking aside: A serious investigation into the persuasive effect of funny social issue messages. Communication Monographs.

Nabi, R. L., Finnerty, K., Domschke, T., & Hull, S. (2006). Does misery love company? Exploring the therapeutic effects of TV viewing on regretted experiences. Journal of Communication, 56, 689-706.

Nabi, R. L., Stitt, C., Halford, J., & Finnerty, K. (2006). Emotional and cognitive predictors of the enjoyment of reality-based and fictional television programming: An elaboration of the uses and gratifications perspective. Media Psychology, 8, 421-447.

Dillard, J. P., & Nabi, R. L. (2006). The persuasive influence of emotion in cancer prevention and detection messages. Journal of Communication, 56, s123-139.

Nabi, R. L., & Krcmar, M. (2004). Conceptualizing media enjoyment as attitude: Implications for mass media effects research. Communication Theory, 14, 288-310.

Nabi, R. L., Biely, E. N., Morgan, S. J., & Stitt, C. (2003). Reality-based television programming and the psychology of its appeal. Media Psychology, 5, 303-330.

Nabi, R. L. (2003). “Feeling” resistance: Exploring the role of emotionally evocative visuals in inducing inoculation. Media Psychology, 5, 199-223.

Nabi, R. L. (2003). The framing effects of emotion: Can discrete emotions influence information recall and policy preference? Communication Research, 30, 224-247.

Nabi, R. L. (2002). Anger, fear, uncertainty, and attitudes: A test of the cognitive-functional model. Communication Monographs, 69, 204-216.

Nabi, R. L. (2002). The lay versus theoretical meaning of disgust: Implications for emotion research. Cognition and Emotion, 16, 695-703.

Segrin, C., & Nabi, R. L. (2002). Does television viewing cultivate unrealistic expectations about marriage? Journal of Communication, 52, 247-263.

Nabi, R. L., Southwell, B., & Hornik, R. (2002). Predicting intentions vs. predicting behaviors: A look at actions to prevent domestic violence. Health Communication, 14, 429-449.

Fishbein, M., Hall-Jamieson, K., Zimmer, E., von Haeften, I., & Nabi, R. (2002). Avoiding the boomerang: The need for experimental tests of the relative effectiveness of anti-drug public service announcements prior to their use in a national campaign. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 238-245.

Nabi, R. L. (1999). A cognitive-functional model for the effects of discrete negative emotions on information processing, attitude change, and recall. Communication Theory, 9, 292-320.

Nabi, R. L. (1998). The effect of disgust-eliciting visuals on attitudes toward animal experimentation. Communication Quarterly, 46, 472-484.