New CCI Faculty Dr. Russell Clayton Launches Cognition and Emotion Lab

Russell Clayton began his journey conducting research as an undergraduate research assistant at Texas State University in the Department of Psychology where he aided in conducting neurophysiology research. This experience propelled his interests in studying cognition and emotion and eventually led him to earn his doctorate from the Missouri School of Journalism, where he focused in health communication and media psychophysiology research.

Clayton’s fascination with how people cognitively and emotionally respond to different types of media and what underlying motivations influence those responses has brought him to FSU as a new faculty member. During his short time with FSU, Clayton has launched a media psychophysiology research laboratory devoted to conducting research on media theory, processes, and effects. The Cognition and Emotion Lab (CEL) is housed in our very own School of Communication.

In October of this year, Clayton and his team will begin conducting several health communication-related research experiments that will focus specifically on the effectiveness of anti-tobacco advertisements, and other health messages.

Clayton is specifically interested in understanding how content and production features of media can be combined to create effective public health campaign messages that encourage cessation outcomes of unhealthy behaviors, and that promote quality of life and healthy development across all life stages.

He elaborates, “I am specifically interested in understanding what types of message features, such as deception by big tobacco companies, disgusting images, smoking cues, etc., influence how smokers, nicotine-withdrawn smokers, and non-smokers cognitively and emotionally process these ads. In other words, I am interested in understanding what type of message attributes are likely to make an anti-tobacco ad ‘effective.’”

The CEL will also serve as a teaching facility for training both undergraduate and graduate students on how to conduct media effect studies.

To learn more about the CEL, email Dr. Russell Clayton at