Stanford University

Political Communication

The Communication Department is home to the world’s leading scholars studying political communication. James Fishkin is director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy, which created the notion of the deliberative poll, in which representative samples of a community or nation come together to learn about a policy issue, talk about it, and then render opinions about what steps their government should take to deal with the issue. By conducting numerous such polls around the world, the Center has helped host governments to implement policies that are responsive to the wishes of their constituents and has shed light on the processes by which citizens communicate with one another and the constructive impact that such communication can have.

James Hamilton is the director of the Journalism Program. His work on the economics of news focuses on the market failures involved in the production of public affairs coverage and the generation of investigative reporting. Through research in the emerging area of computational journalism, he is exploring how to lower the cost of discovering stories about the operation of political institutions.

Shanto Iyengar is director of the Political Communication Laboratory. He has published numerous books illuminating processes of political communication. Among his most notable are News That Matters, winner of the Philip Converse Book Award, and Going Negative, winner of the Goldsmith Book Award. Much of Dr. Iyengar’s most important work has used experimental methods to provide powerful evidence of the causal processes by which the news media influence Americans’ political thinking and action.

Jon Krosnick directs the Political Psychology Research Group. The group’s work focuses on (1) the effects of political communication on attitude formation, change, and impact, and (2) optimizing methods of survey research in order to study political cognition and action. His team is well-known for collaborations with news media organizations in designing and conducting surveys illuminating public opinion on controversial policy issues, such as global warming, health care, and race relations. His work on questionnaire design elucidates the process by which interviewers and researchers communicate with survey respondents. He has served as principal investigator of the American National Election Studies, the nation’s leading survey project studying voter decision-making and the impact of political campaigns.

Jennifer Pan is an Assistant Professor of Communication. Her research examines the strategies authoritarian regimes employ to perpetuate their rule, including censorship, redistribution, and responsiveness, using large-scale data from traditional and digital media as well as experiments on media platforms. She hopes to advise students interested in using quantitative methods to study political communication in nondemocratic and developing countries. Ideal backgrounds include statistics, computer science, and applied math. Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Government. She graduated from Princeton University, summa cum laude, in 2004, and until 2009, she was a consultant at McKinsey & Company based in New York and Beijing. Jennifer has also worked for the Chinese Center for Disease Control, the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Together, the department’s scholars studying political communication have generated many highly cited and influential investigations of the process by which members of a population communicate about politics with one another and communicate with their political leaders, as well as processes by which political leaders communicate with their constituents. In doing so, this research teaches fundamental lessons about how people influence one another and their communities through the exchange of information.

Summer Institute in Political Psychology

Stanford is also host of the Summer Institute in Political Psychology.  Graduate students at Stanford can enroll in SIPP for a minimal cost, a cost much lower than paid by students at other universities.  And Stanford graduate students who complete the SIPP curriculum become eligible to serve as paid facilitators in later summers, thereby gaining experience teaching graduate students and professionals and networking with political psychologists around the world.


Ph.D. Students

Selected Graduates

  • Diana Mutz
    Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Vincent Price
    Provost and Professor and Steven H. Chaffee Chair in Communication and Political Science, Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • Markus Prior
    Associate Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University
  • Sean Westwood
    Assistant Professor of Government, Dartmouth College
  • Philip Garland
    Vice President, Methodology, Survey Monkey
  • Daniel Schneider
    Boston Consulting Group
  • Brett Bannon
    Market Research Principal, Facebook
  • Yphtach Lelkes
    Assistant Professor of Political Communication, University of Amsterdam
  • Alice Siu
    Associate Director, Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy
  • Kyu Hahn
    Assistant Professor of Communication, Seoul National University
  • Michael Wieksner
    Founder and CEO, SocialFeet
  • Hye-Ryeon Lee
    Professor, Department of Speech, University of Hawaii
  • Michael McDevitt
    Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado at Boulder