Media Psychophysiology
Social Neuroscience
Media and Health Promotion
Media/Information Literacy
Media and Biopolitics
Media Production and Design


Dr. Bolls conducts research on how the human mind processes and is influenced by media content and technologies. His research spans communication contexts and channels focusing on brain processes related to cognition and emotion evoked during media exposure. He is an internationally recognized expert on Media Psychophysiology, the use of biometric/physiological measures to study how individuals mentally process and respond to media content.

Dr. Bolls is most interested in generating insights into how media content and technologies can be used to advance human health and wellness. His research can help stakeholders from industry and non-profit organizations develop “brain friendly” content delivered over any media technology platform. Brain “friendly” refers to content that is creatively produced and delivered based on communication science that reveals how the human brain works and processes media. His work includes Neuromarketing research consulting with clients in health, news, entertainment, and consumer goods industries.


Dr. Bolls engages in international and national research collaborations with research partners both inside and outside of academia. Current international partners include faculty researchers in Belgium, Germany, and Spain. Additional research partners include non-profit organizations like Safe Alaskans and media/market research industry partners. He contributes methodological expertise in Media Psychophysiology and topical research expertise in media production/design for health communication/persuasion. Contact Dr. Bolls at to discuss research partnerships and collaboration.


Selected publications represent a small sample of research. Additional sample publications are available upon request. Please contact faculty member to discuss most recent research work.


Potter, R.F. & Bolls, P.D. (2012). Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning: Cognitive and emotional processing of media. New York: Routledge


Bolls, P.D., Weber, R., Lang, A. & Potter, R.F. (2019). Media Psychophysiology and Neuroscience: Bringing brain science into media processes and effects research. In M.B. Oliver, A.A. Raney, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Media Effects: Advances in theory and research, 4th edition, (pp. 195-210. Routledge: New York


Howell, M., Ekman, D.S., Almond, A., & Bolls, P.D. (2018 published online). Switched on: How the timing of aversive content in traffic safety videos impact psychophysiological indicators of message processing, Health Communication, September 2018.

Leshner, G., Bolls, P.D., Gardner, E., Moore, J., & Kreuter, M. (2018). Breast cancer survivor testimonies: Effects of narrative and emotional valence on affect and cognition. Cogent Social Sciences, 4.

Leshner, G., Clayton, R.B., Bolls, P.D., & Bhandari, M. (2018). Deceived, disgusted, and defensive: Motivated processing of anti-toabaco advertisements. Health Communication, 33 (10), 1223-1232.

Sukalla, F., Bilandzic, H, Bolls, P.D., & Busselle, R. (2015, June 29). The Embodiment of Narrative Engagement: Connecting self-reported narrative engagement to psychophysiological measures. Journal of Media Psychology.

Eckler, P. & Bolls, P.D. (2011). Spreading the virus: Emotional tone of viral advertising and its effect on forwarding intentions and attitudes. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 11 (2), 1-11.

Bolls, P.D. (2010).  Understanding emotion from a superordinate dimensional perspective:  A productive way forward for communication processes and effects studies.  Communication Monographs, 77(2), 146-152.


Media Psychophysiology/Neuroscience
Research Methods/Experiment Design
Theories of Media Processes and Effects
Strategic Communication/Persuasion


Dr. Bolls earned his Ph D at Indiana University, MA in the Murrow College at Washington State University, and BA at Montana State University. Over his career he has developed a passion for mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students through research experiences. He and his wife returned to Pullman in 2020 with their two rescue dogs. He grew up in Belgrade, Montana and loves outdoor sports, especially in the mountains. He worked on-air in commercial radio prior to attending graduate school. His hobbies include amateur astronomy, golf, and skiing.