James Dillard

James
Dillard

Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences

Expertise:

  • Social Sciences

Focus Areas:

  • Communication

In The Media:

About

  • Dillard can speak to the role of communication in creating and managing the fear/anxiety around the coronavirus pandemic.
  • His research focuses on interpersonal influence, the role of emotion in persuasion, and the dynamics and impact of fear during epidemics like the Zika and Ebola outbreaks.
  • He is a member of the Risk Communication Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration.

James Dillard is a Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and conducts research on the production and effects of persuasive messages. His work has created a better understanding of how individuals create messages designed to change relationships, acquire goods, and shape political opinion. Dillard’s research on the role of emotion in persuasion is often applied to questions of public health.

Dillard is a member of the Risk Communication Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration. He is also a former editor of Human Communication Research and co-editor of The Persuasion Handbook, a Fellow of the International Communication Association, the recipient of the John E. Hunter Award for Meta-Analysis, and a recipient of the NCA Golden Anniversary Award for article of the year.

In The Media

"With regard to infectious diseases," Dillard said, "it is valuable to know that fear exists to help us solve problems that threaten our well being."

James Dillard of Penn State, an expert in communication, describes a similar dynamic: “Every time somebody mentions the coronavirus to you, you recall everything you read about it and the feelings you experienced at the time.” He says, “So your fear is triggered again.”

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