Norah Dunbar studies credibility and deception in a variety of contexts. In particular, she studies how dominance, nonverbal synchrony, and other nonverbal behaviors affect the impressions we make in our interpersonal relationships. She has examined interpersonal power as it relates to credibility and persuasion and has pioneered the methods of measuring nonverbal behaviors.


Dr. Dunbar is a Professor of Communication at UCSB and a Fellow of the International Communication Association. She teaches courses in nonverbal and interpersonal communication, communication theory, and deception detection. She is also Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Information, Technology & Society; Center for Responsible Machine Learning; the Center for Digital Games Research; and the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program. She has received over $18 Million in research funding from agencies such as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Center for Identification Technology Research. She has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles and has presented over 120 papers at National and International conferences. Her research has appeared in top journals in her discipline including Communication Research, Communication Monographs, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication as well as interdisciplinary journals such as Journal of Management Information Systems and Computers in Human Behavior. She has served on the editorial board of over a dozen disciplinary journals and as the Chair of the Nonverbal Division of the National Communication Association in 2014-2016. She is the immediate past Chair of the Communication Department at UCSB.


National Science Foundation, The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, 2018-2023. (PI: Divya Srinivasan, Virginia Tech). Total project amount: $2,981,870.

Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Program (MURI), 2016-2021.  PI: VS Subrahmanian (Dunbar Co-PI), Total Project Amount: $6,250,000.

National Science Foundation, Cyberlearning Division, Information and Intelligent Systems, 2015-2017. PI: Norah Dunbar, Amount: $549,000.

Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, SIRIUS Program, 2011-2013. PI: Norah Dunbar, Amount: $5,385,700.

Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, 2012-2014, PI: Norah Dunbar, Amount: $240,000.

National Science Foundation, Human-Centered Computing Division, Information and Intelligent Systems, 2011-2014. PI: Shane Connelly (Dunbar Co-PI), Amount: $500,000.

Center for Identification Technology Research Small Project Grant, Fall 2011-Spring 2012. PI: Judee Burgoon, (Dunbar Co-PI), Identifying Behavioral Indicators of Cognitive Load Associated with Deception and Interview Questions. Amount: $40,000.

Center for Identification Technology Research Small Project Grant, Fall 2010-Spring 2011. PI: Norah Dunbar, Dyadic Synchrony as a Measure of Trust & Veracity, Amount: $35,000


Recent Publications, 2022 & 2023

Wilkenfeld, J. N., Kim, S., Upsani, S., Kirkwood, G., Dunbar, N. E., Srinivasan, D. (Accepted). Sensemaking, Adaptation and Agency in Human-Exoskeleton Synchrony. Frontiers in Robotics and AI Human-Robot Interaction. DOI: 10.3389/frobt.2023.1207052.

Winer, S., Dunbar N. E. Jackson, F. J. J. & Summary, J. J. (Accepted). Understanding the effect of vocal behaviors in high conflict situations in personal relationships. Professional Psychology:  Research and Practice.

Dunbar, N. E., Burgoon, J. K., Chen, X., Wang, X., Ge, S., Huang, Q. & Nunamaker, J. (2023). Detecting ulterior motives in group deliberations from verbal cues. Frontiers in Psychology, Forensic and Legal Psychology.

Hansia, M., Giles, H. & Dunbar, N. E. (2023). In search of a “sweet spot”: Can understanding how language influences intimidation, maximize the quality of valued compliance? Psychology of Language and Communication, 27(1), 208-225. DOI: 10.58734/plc-2023-0011.

Dunbar, N. E. Fujiwara, K. & Bernhold, Q.  (2023). Truth-Tellers’ and Liars’ Synchrony During Attitude-Inconsistent Conversations. Frontiers in Communication.

Fujiwara, K., Otmar, C., & Dunbar, N. E. (2022). Nonverbal Synchrony in Technology-Mediated Interviews: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 46, 547-567. 

Lane, B., Cionea, I., Dunbar, N. E., Carr, C. T. (2022). Antecedents and Effects of Online Third-Party Information on Offline Impressions: A Test of Warranting Theory. Journal of Media Psychology, 35, 145-158. 

Spitzley, L. A., Wang, X., Chen, X., Burgoon, J. K., Dunbar, N. E., & Ge, S. (2022). Linguistic Measures of Personality in Group Discussions. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.887616. 

Dunbar, N. E., Summary, J. J., Jordan Jackson, F. J. & Nassuna, R. (2022). A communication coding system for use in high conflict interpersonal relationships. Frontiers in Communication. DOI: 10.3389/fcomm.2022.863960.

Bostwick E., Dunbar N. E. & Johnson A. J. (2022) The Influence of Risk, Location, and Relationship on Refusing an Event Invitation During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Communication, 7:742283. doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2022.742283

Dunbar, N. E., Bernhold, Q., Hansia, M. A (2022). Examination of the verifiable details provided by liars in their alibis. Western Journal of Communication. DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2022.2061043

Spitzley, L., Wang, X., Chen, X., Pentland, S., Nunamaker, J., Burgoon, J. K., & Dunbar, N. E. (2022). Non-invasive measurement of trust in group interactions. Transactions on Affective Computing, 1-13. Doi: 10.1109/TAFFC.2022.3160132

Afifi, T. D., Collins, N., Rand, K., Otmar, C., Mazur, A., Dunbar, N. E., & Fujiwara, K, Harrison, K. E., Logsdon, R. (2022). Using Virtual Reality to Improve the Quality of Life of Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments and their Family Members who Live at a Distance. Health Communication.

Kirkwood, G., Wilkenfeld, J. N., & Dunbar, N. E. (2022). Exoskeletons and the Future of Work: Envisioning Power and Control in a Workforce without Limits. Human-Machine Communication, , 4, 187-206.

  Burgoon, J. K., Dunbar, N. E., Spitzley, L. A. (2022). Deception and its detection. In M. Dehghani & R. Boyd (Eds.), Handbook of Language Analysis in Psychology (pp. 285-300). Guilford Press.

Fujiwara, K., Hoegen, R., Gratch, J., & Dunbar, N. E. (2022). Synchrony Facilitates Altruistic Decision Making for Non-Human Avatars. Computers in Human Behavior. Article 107079.

Notable Older Publications:

Burgoon, J., Metzger, M., Dunbar, N., Stathopoulos, A., Nunamaker, J. & Metaxas, D. (2021). The psychology of trust from relational messages. In M. P. Levine (Ed). Psychology of Trust. Intech Open. ISBN 978-1-83969-873-6

Denault, V., Plusquellec, P., Jupe, L. M., St-Yves, M., Dunbar, N. E., Hartwig, M., … van Koppen, P. J. (2020). The analysis of nonverbal communication: The dangers of pseudoscience in security and justice contexts. Anuario de Psicología Jurídica, [Yearbook of Psychology] 30, 1-12. doi: 10.5093/apj2019a9  [This article is a translation of the French article “L’ analyse de la communication non verbale: Les dangers de la pseudoscience en contextes de sécurité et de justice” published with the authorization of the French journal Revue Internationale de Criminologie et de Police Technique et Scientifique.]

Dunbar, N. E., Giles, H., Bernhold, Q., Adams, A., Giles, M., Zamanzadeh, N., Gangi, K., Coveleski, S. & Fujiwara, K. (2020). Strategic synchrony and rhythmic similarity in lies about ingroup affiliation. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 44, 153-172. DOI: 10.1007/s10919-019-00321-2.

Miller, C. H., Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Massey, Z., Lee, Y-. H., Nicholls, S. B., Anderson, C., Adams, A. S., Elizondo Cecena, F. J., Thompson, W., & Wilson, S. N. (2019). Training Law Enforcement Officers to Identify Reliable Deception Cues with an Interactive Digital Game. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 9(3), 1-22. DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2019070101.

Denault, V. & Dunbar, N. E. (2017). Nonverbal communication in courtrooms: Scientific assessments or modern trials by ordeal? The Advocates’ Quarterly, 47(3), 280-308

Dunbar, N. E., Gangi, K., Coveleski, S., Adams, A., Bernhold, Q., & Giles, H. (2016). When is it Acceptable to Lie? Interpersonal and Intergroup Perspectives on Deception. Communication Studies, 67, 129-146doi: 10.1080/10510974.2016.1146911

Dunbar, N.E., Jensen, M. J., Kelley, K. M., Robertson, K. J., Bernard, D. R., Adame, B., & Burgoon, J. K. (2015). Effects of veracity, modality and sanctioning on credibility assessment during mediated and unmediated interviews. Communication Research, 42(5) 649–674.  (Published online first in 2013).

Yu, X., Zhang, S., Yan, Z., Yang, F., Huang, J., Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L. Burgoon, J. K., Metaxas, D. M. (2015). Is Interactional Dissynchrony a Clue to Deception? Insights from Automated Analysis of Nonverbal Visual Cues. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 45, 506 - 520. DOI: 10.1109/TCYB.2014.2329673

Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Tower, D. C., Burgoon, J. K. (2014). Synchronization of nonverbal behaviors in detecting mediated and non-mediated deception. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 38, 355-376.

Dunbar, N. E., Connelly, M. S., Jensen, M. L., Adame, B., Rozzell, B., Griffith, J., & O’Hair, H. D. (2014). Fear appeals, message processing cues, and credibility in the websites of violent, ideological, and non-ideological groups. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19, 871–889.

Dunbar, N. E., Wilson, S., Adame, B., Elizondo, J., Jensen, M. L., Miller, C.,  Allums. A., Seltsam, T., Bessarabova, E., Vincent, C., Straub, S., Ralston, R., Dulawan, C. L., Ramirez, D., Squire, K., Valacich, J. & Burgoon, J. K. (2013). The Development of a Training Game for the Mitigation of Cognitive Bias: The Case Study of MACBETH. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 3(4), 7-26

Dunbar, N. E. & Jensen, M. (2011). Digital Deception in Personal Relationships. In K. B. Wright & L. M. Webb (Eds.), Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships (pp. 324-343). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Dunbar, N. E. & Abra, G. (2010). Observations of dyadic power in interpersonal interaction. Communication Monographs, 77(4), 657-684.

Dunbar, N. E. & Burgoon, J. K. (2005). Perceptions of power and interactional dominance in interpersonal relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(2), 231-257.

Dunbar, N. E. & Burgoon, J. K. (2005). The measurement of nonverbal dominance. In V. Manusov (Ed.), The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures: Going Beyond Words (pp. 361-374). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Burgoon, J. K., Bonito, J. A., Ramirez, Jr. A., Dunbar, N. E., Kam, K. & Fischer, J. (2002). Testing the interactivity principle: Effects of mediation, verbal and nonverbal modalities, and propinquity in decision-making interactions. Journal of Communication, 52(3), 657-677.

Burgoon, J. K., & Dunbar, N. E. (2000). An interactionist perspective on dominance-submission: Interpersonal dominance as a dynamic, situationally contingent social skill. Communication Monographs, 67(1), 96-121.


Ph.D. (2000), University of Arizona, Communication

M.A. (1996), California State University Chico, Human Communication

B.A. (1994), University of Nevada Reno, Speech Communication