Nicholas DiFonzo, Ph.D.
DiFonzo earned his Ph.D. in Social & Organizational Psychology from
Dr. DiFonzo has published approximately 30 articles, book chapters, and technical reports pertaining to the topic of rumor. His book, Rumor Psychology: Social & Organizational Psychology (written with Prashant Bordia), was published by the American Psychological Association (2007). He has studied how rumors propagate through networks in social space and across time, the mechanisms by which rumors become accurate or distorted, motivations involved in rumor transmission, processes involved in believing a rumor, how rumor is differentiated from other forms of communication, the effects of hearing rumors and hearing rumor denials, psychological mechanisms by which rumors are effectively refuted, how rumor processes are affected by organizational trust, and how rumors influence social and economic behavior. He has also pursued practical applications of rumor theory including how harmful rumors may be most effectively refuted. Dr. DiFonzo has also given approximately 30 presentations and invited addresses at academic conferences on these topics, as well as several seminars to business audiences on the topic of managing rumors.
Dr. DiFonzo recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how rumors propagate through social networks over time (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0527371). He has also received grants from the Institute for Public Relations to study corporate rumors, their effects, and how top corporate public relations officers handle them. Dr. DiFonzo organized and maintains an Internet discussion group, Rumor-GossipResearch@listserver.rit.edu for scholars interested in the topics of rumor and gossip. Dr. DiFonzo is currently serving as expert witness for the Procter & Gamble Corporation on the topic of the famous (and false) Satanism rumor and product rumors.
Professor of Psychology
Rochester Institute of Technology
3176 George Eastman Bldg.