Norah Dunbar

Photo of Norah Dunbar



Professor, Department of Communication


Norah Dunbar, Professor of Communication at UC Santa Barbara, conducts research on nonverbal and interpersonal communication, and deception detection. She was the principal investigator of a $5.4 Million contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity in 2011-2013 and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Center for Identification Technology Research. She has published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has presented more than 60 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 six disciplinary journals and served as Chair of the Nonverbal Division of the National Communication Association in 2014-2016. Norah has developed and evaluated two digital games that teach deception detection and mitigation of cognitive bias, designed especially for professionals who conduct interviews and interrogations.


interpersonal communication; nonverbal communication; deception detection; credibility assessment; power and dominance in interpersonal interaction; computer-mediated communication; observational and experimental research methods


A project, called Credibility Assessment and Intelligence Analysis Training in a Serious Game, was funded by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity in 2011-2013 for $5.4 million. We designed two digital games for the mitigation of cognitive bias called MACBETH (Mitigating Analyst Cognitive Bias by Eliminating Task Heuristics). Our games received two awards at the 2013 Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC): Best Game Overall (Business Category) and the Adaptive Force Award (selected by the Office of the Secretary of Defense).  Another project, called VERITAS, is developing a digital game that teaches deception detection.


Dunbar, N. E., Miller, C. H., Adame, B., Elizondo, J., Wilson, S. N., Lane, B., Kauffman, A., Bessarabova, E., Jensen, M. J., Straub, S. K., Burgoon, J. K., Valacich, J., Jenkins, J., Zhang, J., Lee, Y.-H. (2014). Implicit and explicit training in the mitigation of cognitive bias through the use of a serious game.Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 307-318. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.04.053

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. DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2013100102

Dunbar, N. E., Jensen, M. L., Miller, C. H., Bessarabova, E., Straub, S., Wilson, S. N., Elizondo, J., Burgoon, J. K., Valacich, J. S., Adame, B., Lee, Y., Lane, B., Piercy, C., Wilson, D., King, S., Vincent, C. and Schuetzler, R. (2014, May). Mitigating Cognitive Bias Through the Use of Serious Games: Effects of Feedback. Paper presented to the Persuasive Technology 2014 Conference, Padua, Italy.