Lyn Van Swol

Communication Science




6152 Vilas Hall

Office Hours:

  • On sabbatical
  • And by appointment

Current and Future Projects

  • Emotional contagion of positive and negative emotional language in an online group discussion
  • How group discussion of climate change can change attitudes towards taking action to combat climate change
  • Applying research on advice communication to environmental settings, like forestry and aquatic invasive species.

Expertise and Activities

I research information sharing in groups, utilization of advice, persuasion, language use in groups, and the role of groups in environmental communication. All my research shares the theme of examining what factors are likely to increase acceptance of information during an interaction. My research on information sharing in groups examines how people share information with each other in order to persuade and come to consensus in groups. I’m especially interested in the role of information members all know and share in common before having a group discussion. Talking about shared information helps create a common ground among group members. The problem is that by only talking about information that they share in common, groups fail to learn from each other. However, there are advantages to discussing shared information. My research has found that people respond positively to a group member who mentions information that others already know and that when encountering scientific information (for example, on climate change) shared information facilitates persuasion.

The role of group discussion in facilitating persuasion, especially concerning environmental topics is a them of several current research projects. I’m especially interested in who peer groups can set norms through group discussion to encourage pro-environmental behavior.

I am also collaborating with several researchers to examine what factors can increase the utilization of advice. For example, some of my research examines utilization of advice in medical decision-making, and other current research examines how foresters can give advice to landowners to promote planting trees.

Other research projects examine how language used in groups can affect emotions, conflict, and persuasion in a group discussion.  Language use may be a window into group processes.


  • Ph.D. Social Psychology with minor in Quantitative Psychology, University of Illinois, 1999
  • M.A. Social Psychology, University of Illinois, 1995
  • B.A. Psychology, summa cum laude, Loyola University, 1993


  • Top three paper award in group communication, NCA, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2017, 2019
  • Dennis Gouran Research Award for best published paper in group communication, NCA, 2007, 2018
  • Best published paper in Small Group Communication, presented at INGroup 2019


L. MacGeorge & L. M. Van Swol, editors (2018). Oxford Handbook of Advice. In Oxford Handbook Series. Oxford University Press.

Selected Recent Articles

  • Chung, J. H., Sarmiento, I. G., Van Swol, L. M., Shaw, B. R., Koshollek, A., & Ahn, P. H. (2020). Promoting reforestation to landowners: The role of advice-giving through information, efficacy, narrative, and identification in storytelling, Journal of Forestry, 118(5), 474486.
  • Bloomfield, E. F., Van Swol, L. M., Chang, C. T., Willes, S., & Ahn, P. H. (2020). The effects of establishing intimacy and consubstantiality on group discussions about climate change solutions. Science Communication, 42(3), 369–394.
  • Polman, E., Van Swol, L. M., & Hoban, P. R. (2020). Harbinger of foul play: A field study of frames and regulatory focus. Judgment and Decision-Making, 15, 353-370.
  • Van Swol, L. M., Paik, J. E., & Prahl, A. (2020). The effects of apologies and language on reactions to imposed advice. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 39(3), 318–333.
  • Van Swol, L. M., Kolb, M., & Asan, O. (2020). “We are on the same page:” The importance of screen sharing for promoting shared information and collaborative decision-making. Journal of Communication in Healthcare, 13(2), 128-137.
  • Van Swol, L. M., Chang, C., Kerr, B., and Moreno, M. (2020). Linguistic Predictors of Problematic Drinking in Alcohol-related Facebook Posts. Journal of Health Communication, 25, 214-222.
  • Van Swol, L. M., Prahl, A., & Kolb, M. (2019). The effects of discussion of familiar or non-familiar information on opinions of anthropogenic climate change. Environmental Communication, 13, 1128-1142.



  • Kane, A., & Van Swol, L. M. (forthcoming). Language use in groups. In M. M. Dehghani & R. L. Boyd (Eds.), The Atlas of Language Analysis in Psychology. Guilford Press.
  • Van Swol, L. M., Polman, E., & Ahn, H. (2019). “Deterring deception: Theory and new directions.” In T. Docan-Morgan (Ed.). Deceptive Communication, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Toma, C., Bonus, A., & Van Swol, L. M. (2019). “Deception production, detection, and beliefs in online environments.” In T. Docan-Morgan (Ed.). Deceptive Communication, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Van Swol, L. M., & Prahl, A. (2018). Giving and receiving advice in groups, networks, and organizations. In E. L. MacGeorge & L. M. Van Swol (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Advice, Oxford University Press.
  • Van Swol, L. M., J. E. Paik, & Prahl, A. (2018). Advice Recipients: The Psychology of Advice Utilization. In E. L. MacGeorge & L. M. Van Swol (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Advice, Oxford University Press.
  • MacGeorge, E., & Van Swol, L. M. (2018). Advice Across Disciplines and Contexts. In E. L. MacGeorge & L. M. Van Swol (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Advice, Oxford University Press.
  • MacGeorge, E., & Van Swol, L. M. (2018). Advice: Communication with Consequence. In E. L. MacGeorge & L. M. Van Swol (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Advice, Oxford University Press.


  • CA 575 – Communication in Complex Organizations
  • CA 368 – Theory and Practice of Persuasion
  • CA760 – Theory in Communication Science


Curriculum Vitae