Affiliate Researcher

Assistant Professor
School of Communication
American University


Sol Hart, Ph.D., specializes in risk communication related to environmental, science, and health issues. Hart's research investigates the psychological processes underlying effective risk communication, with the aim of understanding the role of the media in motivating and engaging the public around a variety of issues and how to create effective messages that can cross ideological divides and that resonate with broad sections of the public. He has studied communication processes related to climate change, AIDS prevention, poverty, and clinical health communication. Hart's research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research has been published in a number of peer reviewed journals, including Communication Research, Science Communication, Society and Natural Resources, and Communication Yearbook.


BS (’02), Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning, Univ of California at Davis
MS (’05), Environmental Studies, University of Orego
PhD (‘10) Communication, Cornell University

Selected Publications:

Hart, P. S., & Nisbet, E. C. (forthcoming). Boomerang effects in science communication: How motivated reasoning and identity cues amplify opinion polarization about climate mitigation policies.Communication Research.

Hart, P. S., Nisbet, E. C., Shanahan, J. E. (2011). Environmental values and the social amplification of risk: An examination of how environmental values and media use influence predispositions for public engagement. Society and Natural Resources, 24(3), 276-291.

Hart, P. S. (2011). One or many? The influence of episodic and thematic climate change frames on policy preferences and individual behavior change. Science Communication, 33, 28 – 51.

McComas, K. Stedman, R., & Hart, P. S. (2011). Community Support for Campus Approaches to Sustainable Energy Use: The Role of “Town-Gown” Relationships. Energy Policy, 39, 2310-2318.

Siemer, W. F., Hart, P. S., Decker, D. J., & Shanahan, J. E. (2009). Factors that influence concern about human-black bear interaction in residential settings. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14, 174-184.

Byrne, S., & Hart, P. S. (2009). The ‘boomerang’ effect: A synthesis of findings and a preliminary theoretical framework. In C. Beck (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 33, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Gore, M. L., Wilson, R. S., Siemer, W. F. Wieczorek Hudenko, H. A., Clarke, C. E., Hart, P. S., Maguire, L. A., & Muter, B. A. (2009). Application of risk concepts to wildlife management: special issue introduction.Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14, 301-314.

Hart, P. S., & Leiserowitz, A. A. (2009). Finding the teachable moment: An analysis of information-seeking behavior on global warming related websites during the release of The Day After Tomorrow. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 3, 355-366.