The annual meeting of the International Communication Association (#ICA20) might be virtual this year, but we are still very excited to share our research at this meeting. This year, the lab will present six studies in Communication Science and Biology, Information Systems, and Mass Communication. The lab will also present a perspective on Open Science in the conference theme panel. Below, you can find complete details about these projects, including links to slides and presentation videos (where appropriate). Have questions? Let us know, we’d love to chat!

Bullock, O. M., Shulman, & Huskey, R. Enhancing our Understanding of When and Why Narrative Persuasion is Successful: A Test of Processing Fluency and Identification. Mass Communication Division.

Dienlin, T., Johannes, N., Bowman, N. D., Masur, P. K., Engesser, S., . . . , Huskey, R., . . . , & Vreese C. D. An Agenda for Open Science in Communication. Conference Theme Panel. Slides and Presentation.

Gong & Duff. An Exploration Account of Media Multitasking: The Exploration-Exploitation Model to Explain Media Multitasking Behavior. Communication Science and Biology Interest Group. Slides and Presentation.

Gong & Yegiyan. When to Switch? An Information Foraging Model of Media Switching Behaviors. Information Systems Division. Presentation.

Huskey, R. & Calcagnotto, L. Ground Truth of Measurement Error: Tools for Validating Reaction Time Stimuli in the Era of Open Science. Communication Science and Biology Interest Group. Slides and Presentation.

Wilcox, S., Huskey, R. & Deandrea, D. Social Distance and Attitudes
Top 4 Paper, Information Systems Division. Slides and Presentation.


The Lab is excited to present our latest work on the neural basis of flow at this year’s meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society! This work investigates the brain network dynamics of flow relative to boredom and frustration. It finds that there are specific brain network topologies related to flow, but the topological architecture of these experiences changes over time.

In addition to downloading the poster, you can watch Xuanjun (Jason) Gong present our main findings. The full abstract is posted below. Send us a message if you have any questions! We look forward to your feedback.

A Network Neuroscience Investigation of the Psychological State of Flow

Richard Huskey(1), Justin Robert Keene(2), Shelby Wilcox(3), Xuanjun (Jason) Gong(1), Robyn Adams(4), and Christina Jimenez Najera(2)

(1) Cognitive Communication Science Lab, C2 Lab, Center for Mind and Brain, Department of Communication, University of California Davis

(2) Cognition and Emotion Lab, College of Media and Communication, Texas Tech University

(3) Neuroscience of Messages Lab, Department of Communication, Michigan State University

(4) Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University

Abstract Flow is a positively valenced psychological state characterized by high levels of intrinsic reward during goal-directed behavior. Flow occurs when there is a high level of task difficulty as well as when an individual has a high level of ability at the task. Empirical evidence shows that, when task difficulty and individual ability are both high, participants self-report the highest levels of flow and behavioral studies show that flow requires high levels of attention. Neurally, flow is associated with increased functional connectivity between fronto-parietal control and subcortical reward networks. Network neuroscience results show that flow is characterized by a brain-network topology that is energetically efficient and studies using tDCS demonstrate that default mode network down-regulation is causally implicated in the flow experience. However, little is known about the network dynamics that underpin flow, or how the network topology that characterizes flow experiences emerges over time. In this fMRI study (n=35), we use multi-layer network analyses to address this gap (GitHub: https://github.com/cogcommscience-lab/flow-dynamic). We apply a multi-layer community detection algorithm to investigate node flexibility – how many times a node changes community – in the network. We show that nodes in the fronto-parietal control network are characterized by a high level of flexibility early on, but that this flexibility stabilizes over time. By comparison, subcortical reward network nodes exhibit relatively low flexibility during task. These results provide support for the Synchronization Theory of Flow by demonstrating that the discrete brain network topology characterizing flow emerges and becomes stable over time. Asteroid Impact, the stimulus used in this study, is also available for download on GitHub (https://github.com/cogcommscience-lab/asteroid_impact).

Code Management & You!

Research suggests that computational scientists spend up to 30% of their work week writing code. 90% of computational scientists are self-trained. This means that many best-practices for code development and maintenance are often not formally articulated or trained. This talk presents a high-level overview of best practices in code management. Interested readers should check out the following papers:

Slides for this talk can be downloaded here.

Lab to Present at NCA19

The Cognitive Communication Science Lab is presenting research at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association in Baltimore, MD. Members of the lab helped organize the Getting Results that Survive: Improving Communication Science pre-conference (OSF). Talks include:

Huskey, R. Do we need to rethink data sharing? (2019, November). Wednesday, 11/13 343 (300 Level) Baltimore Convention Center 8:30am

Huskey R., Couture Bue, A., Eden, A., Grall, C., Meshi, D., Prena, K., Schmälzle, R., Scholz, C., Turner, B., & Wilcox, S. (2019, November). Is Communication Neuroscience Just Another Subfield in an Already Crowded Discipline? 11/14, Paca (Third Level) Hilton 5:00pm

Lab to Present at the Annual C^2 Retreat

Lab Members Xuanjun (Jason) Gong and Richard Huskey will present at the annual C^2 Retreat. The retreat is an opportunity for members of the C^2 community to share ideas, get feedback on research, and build community among computational social scientists in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Davis. Lab talks include:

Gong: Information Foraging Theory – An ecological model of information seeking behavior applied in media behavior studies

Huskey: Moralizing mass shooting: Do mass shooters use moral language to justify their behavior?