Interpersonal Communication



Jess Alberts


Jess Alberts, President's Professor, focuses on conflict in personal and professional relationships. She is particularly interested in marital disagreements, how couples divide up domestic chores, and how they conduct their daily interactions. In addition, she explores ways to reduce workplace bullying and to improve legal negotiations and community mediation practices. Because of her experiences studying (and participating in) marital conflict, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss how couples can fight and complain more effectively.

President's Professor Alberts is also is founder and co-director of the Transformation Project which focuses on how communication can transform people’s lives. 

Laura Guerrero


Laura Guerrero, a professor, studies communication in close relationships, with a special emphasis on emotional and nonverbal communication. Her research focuses on how communication affects relationships in positive and negative ways. She has studied how people communicate intimacy and forgiveness as ways to keep relationships healthy. She has also looked at how people communicate in situations where they are jealous, hurt, or angry. In these situations, certain forms of communication can enhance understanding and improve relationships, whereas other forms of communication can make problems worse.

Guerrero has published over 100 articles and chapters on these topics and has received several research awards.  She has created questionnaires that measure communicative responses to jealousy, conflict styles, and attachment styles. She has also developed an observational technique for coding behaviors showing nonverbal intimacy from videotapes. 

Paul Mongeau


Paul Mongeau, professor, and associate director is interested in communication in relationships and the processes of persuasion and social influence. He has studied the earliest stages of romantic relationships, such as first dates, and his present research focuses on Friends with Benefits Relationships (FWBRs). He works with a group of students and together they have found that FWBRs is quite a complicated and varied relationship type. Another area Professor Mongeau works in is persuasion, examining theories of how people understand and respond to persuasive messages. He is especially interested in messages that try to persuade through the creation of fear.

In addition to his research, he is both associate director of The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and president of the Western States Communication Association. 

Jonathan Pettigrew


Jonathan Pettigrew, associate professor, has developed an active research program in prevention science, the study of how to promote health and prevent problem behaviors. His work collaborates across disciplines and methodologies to promote adolescent development. He has lead research that includes developing culturally appropriate intervention materials, studying intervention delivery, and analyzing intervention health outcomes. He has worked on NIH funded projects and served as Principal Investigator on a Department of a State-funded project to reduces substance use and violence among youth in Nicaragua, Central America. A particular area of expertise is implementation science which studies how programs are communicated to their audiences. He has published a book with Peter Lang on how social support is communicated between stepfathers and adolescent stepsons as well as a number of research articles that appear in the Journal of Adolescent Research, the American Journal of Community Psychology, Health Education and Prevention Science.


Anthony Roberto


Anthony J. Roberto, professor, research and teaching interests focus primarily on persuasion and social influence and health communication campaigns. His research is largely quantitative and relies heavily on survey and experimental methods (though he is also versed in some qualitative research methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews). His research involves the design, implementation, or evaluation of various health behavior change communication programs. He has developed or tested messages to improve health-related behaviors in a wide variety of areas, including adolescent sexual health (i.e., HPV, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, STD, and pregnancy prevention), cyberbullying, kidney disease, gun safety, etc.

Professor Roberto has received numerous awards for his research and teaching, and has published 27 peer-reviewed research articles in a variety of journals and has also authored four book chapters.


Sarah Tracy

Sarah J. Tracy


Sarah J. Tracy, a professor, studies stressful workplace issues such as burnout, work-life balance, faking emotions, and workplace bullying, as well as positive types of communication such as compassion, engagement, and generosity.  By hanging out in the backstage areas of organizations and talking to employees, she has provided insight on correctional officers, cruise ship activity directors, 911-call takers, and medical staff.  She works with a vibrant group of professors, graduate students, and community members as co-director of The Transformation Project, examining new possibilities related to collaboration, health, and work-life wellness.  She is the author of two books (on organizational change and another on research methods) and more than 60 published essays. Her favorite courses to teach include “Communication and The Art of Happiness,” “Emotion and Organizations," "Being a Leader" and "Advanced Qualitative Research Methods."  Professor Tracy aims to develop peoples 'on the court' practice in their work, scholarship, and life—where they not only learn 'about' but also learn 'to be.'


Research Fellows

Kory Floyd

Kory Floyd
who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, is a Health Communication Research Fellow in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and professor of Communication, University of Arizona. He studies the evolutionary psychology and psychophysiology of affectionate, intimate communication in close relationships. His research with behavioral health explores how affection moderates the stress response and contributes to immunocompetence. He has proposed an affection exchange theory, which describes the evolutionary advantages of affectionate behavior in the human species.