Kenneth Lachlan, PhD

Department Head

Professor (PI)

Department of Communication

Research Overview

The central component of my research agenda is the study of risk messages. Much of this work has explored real world information seeking patterns and psychological responses to crisis and health messages from people under extreme duress. Across varying outcomes, I attempt to not only examine individual level processes and effects, but to provide clear policy implications that can be used by those responding to environmental risks. Recently, my research has explored the ways in which mediated risk messages are received and processed through interactive technologies. Two recent publications have used laboratory experiments to examine health risk message source credibility across avatars of varying ethnicities. Currently, I am working with data examining the media use and responses associated with Twitter hashtags during natural disasters. Another ongoing project examines the impact of refutational messages on perceptions of organizations responsible for producing high risk food products, and behavioral intentions to avoid these products. The preliminary findings support the notion that message primacy may be a key consideration in refutational messages, as participants consistently reported more positive impressions of these organizations when receiving refutational messages before news of a food risk (as opposed to vice versa).


Doctor of Philosophy, Communication, 2003, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Master of Arts, Mass Communication, 1999, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
Bachelor of Arts, Communication/Sociology (double major), 1997, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

Recent/Selected Publications

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Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-6689
Mailing Address337 Mansfield Rd
Unit 1259
Storrs, CT 06269