Texas Tech University

Paul Bolls

Professor
Public Relations

Email: paul.bolls@ttu.edu

Phone: +1.806.834.7262

Research: Health, Science, Entertainment, Biological processes underlying media processes and effects

Office: 
505

Ph.D. Indiana University, 1999
M.A. Washington State University, 1995

Paul Bolls

Biography

Dr. Paul Bolls grew up in the Bozeman, Montana area and loves escaping into the mountains whenever possible. Prior to graduate school, he spent eight years working on-air in commercial radio mostly in Bozeman. While attending Montana State University for his bachelors degree, he was fortunate to have Professors mentor him through research experiences. This translated into his own passion for mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students through research experiences outside of the classroom. He does this primarily through his research group, Media Mind Insights, a research team dedicated to studying how the human brain processes and responds to media. Dr. Bolls and his wife (Val) moved to Lubbock in December of 2015. They enjoy the friendliness of the Lubbock community and vibrant Texas Tech campus.

Research

Dr. Paul Bolls is one of the leading researchers who apply the Media Psychophysiology paradigm to studying how individuals mentally process and respond to media content and technology. The Media Psychophysiology paradigm is a general framework for combining physiological, self-report, and behavioral measures in the study of media processes and effects. He does not limit his research to one single media context, but rather his research interests span a wide range of media content and technological platforms. He has conducted experiments on health communication, advertising, news, political communication, gaming, entertainment, as well digital/interactive media.

Dr. Bolls' research agenda is focused on generating both theoretical and practical insight into the human brain "on" all forms of media content delivered over both traditional and new media technologies. He has a specific interest in advancing the knowledge and practice of using media for positive effects on the well-being of individuals and democratic societies. Examples of general research questions include:

How can emotional responses to messages about health in both health campaigns and entertainment media lead to healthy behaviors?

How do features of media content and technology engage cognitive and emotional processes that underlie both positive and negative public perceptions and behaviors related to world issues (e.g. environment, refugee crisis, political conflicts)?

Dr. Bolls also works in Neuromarketing research, the application of brain science and physiological measures to optimizing all forms of media content for industry clients. He has set up labs for market research firms and regularly conducts Neuromarketing tests for large industry clients.

Dr. Bolls directs Media Mind Insights, a research group dedicated to studying how the human mind processes and is influenced by media. He welcomes contact from students, potential collaborators, and industry clients interested in working with his lab.

Methodologies

  • Experiment
  • Survey
  • Continuous Response
  • Psychophysiology

Research Areas

  • Health communication
  • Science communication
  • Entertainment
  • Biological processes underlying media processes and effects

Selected Publications

Potter, R.F. & Bolls, P.D. (2012). Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning: Cognitive and Emotional Processing of Media. Routledge: New York, NY

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, DOI: 10.1080/03637751003790477

Sukulla, F., Bilandzic, H., Bolls, P.D., & Busselle, R. (2016). Embodiment of Narrative Engagement: Connecting Self-Reported Narrative Engagement to Psychophysiological Measures. Journal of Media Psychology, 28, 175-186.  https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-1105/a000153

Teaching Focus

Dr. Bolls specializes in teaching theory and methods related to Media Psychophysiology and Neuromarketing research. He teaches a course on experiment design and has taught specialized seminars on Psychophysiology, Emotion in Media Processes and Effects, and Psychology of Persuasion. His undergraduate teaching interests focus on persuasive campaigns, quantitative research methods, media processes and effects, and mentoring students through undergraduate research experiences.