Emily K. Vraga

Emily K. Vraga

Emily K. Vraga

Associate Professor

new media; political communication; media effects; media literacy; health communication; science communication; selective exposure; misinformation;

Emily K. Vraga joined the faculty at George Mason University in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and spent one year as a Post-Doctoral Research Instructor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.

Dr. Vraga's research focuses on how individuals respond to news and information about contentious political, scientific, and health issues, particularly when they encounter disagreement with their views via digital media. I am especially interested in (1) using news media literacy messages to limit biased processing and improve news consumption habits, (2) detecting and correcting misinformation via social media, and (3) encouraging attention to more diverse political content online. I prioritize using diverse methodologies - such as eye tracking, experiments, surveys, content analysis, and in-depth interviews - to better match an evolving media environment.

Selected Publications

Vraga, E. K., Stefanidis, A., Lamprianidis, G., Croitoru, A., Crooks, A., Delamater, P., Pfoser, D., Radzikowski, J., & Jacobsen, K. H. (2018). Cancer and social media: A comparison of traffic about breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other reproductive cancers on Twitter and Instagram. Journal of Health Communication, online first.

Vraga, E. K., & Bode, L. (2017). Using expert sources to correct health misinformation in social media. Science Communication, online first.

Vraga, E. K. (2016). Party differences in political content on social media. Online Information Review, 40, 595-609.

Vraga, E. K., Bode, L., & Troller-Renfree, S. (2016). Moving beyond self-reports: Using eye tracking to determine topic and style differences in attention to social media content. Communication Methods and Measures, 10, 2-3, 149-164.

Vraga, E. K., Thorson, K., Kligler-Vilenchik, N., & Gee, E. (2015). How individual sensitivities to disagreement shape youth political expression on Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 281-289.

Vraga, E. K., & Tully, M. (2015). Media literacy messages and hostile media perceptions: Processing of nonpartisan versus partisan political information. Mass Communication and Society, 14, 422-448.

Grants and Fellowships

Bode, L., Vraga, E. K., & Tully, M. (2017). Using news media literacy interventions to combat misinformation on social media. Grant amount: $1,908. Source: Georgetown University. Role: Co-PI.

Shah, D. V., Bode, L., Edgerly, E., Thorson, E., Thorson, K., Vraga, E. K., & Wells, C. (2016). Young adults, media flows, and electoral engagement: Understanding how campaign dynamics drive Millennials’ knowledge and participation. Grant amount: $40,000. Source: Carnegie Corporation of New York. Role: PI.

Tully, M., & Vraga, E. K. (2016). Examining the effectiveness of embedding news media literacy messages in a news aggregator. Grant amount: $23,202. Source: Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of Iowa. Role: PI

Stefanidis, A., Jacobsen, K. H., Croitoru, A., Crooks, A., Pfoser, D., & Vraga, E. K. (2015). Health narratives: A multidisciplinary approach to understanding health-related information generation and dissemination in social media. Grant amount: $50,000. Source: Multidisciplinary Research Initiative Planning Committee of George Mason University. Role: PI.

Courses Taught

COMM302: Foundations of Mass Communication
COMM327: Political Communication
COMM400: Communication Research Methods
COMM615: Political Communication
COMM650: Graduate Communication Research Methods
COMM690: New Media and Democracy
COMM750: Graduate Research Methods II
COMM798: Communication Research Projects


B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005
M.A. in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008
Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011

In the Media

Engber, D. (2018, Jan. 12). Facebook's revamp includes an effort to fight fake news. Will it work? Slate.com. Available at: https://slate.com/health-and-science/2018/01/facebooks-revamp-includes-an-effort-to-fight-fake-news.html

Schwartz, J. (2018, Jan. 7). Is Facebook preparing to open up on fake news?   Available at: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/07/facebook-fake-news-326996

Villiger, M. (2017, Dec. 21). With science under siege in 2017, scientists regrouped and fought back: 5 essential reads. The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/with-science-under-siege-in-2017-scientists-regrouped-and-fought-back-5-essential-reads-89261

Vraga, E. K. (2017, Oct. 26). Expert organizations can be effective in correcting health misinformation on social media. USAPP - American Politics and Policy. Available at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2017/10/26/expert-organizations-can-be-effective-in-correcting-health-misinformation-on-social-media/

Vraga, E. K. (2017, Apr. 19). Can March for Science participants advocate without losing the public’s trust? The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/can-march-for-science-participants-advocate-without-losing-the-publics-trust-76205

Dissertations Supervised

Anne-Bennett Smithson, I Beg to Differ:Understanding Disagreement, Agreement, and Emotional Appeals in Gubernatorial Campaign Communication (2017)