Katherine (Katya)

Associate Professor of Communication


DeWitt 302

Katherine Ognyanova studies the effects of social influence on civic and political behavior, confidence in institutions, information exposure/evaluation, and public opinion formation. Her methodological expertise is in computational social science, network science, and survey research. Her recent work examines the links between misinformation exposure and political trust. Ognyanova is one of the founders and a principal investigator for The COVID States Project – a large multi-university initiative exploring the social and political implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ognyanova’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Her work has been covered in news outlets including New York Times, NPR, Politico, Washington Post, and WIRED, among others.


Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California
Ph.D., Communication

University of Southern California
M.A., Communication

University of Sofia "St. Kliment Ohridski”
M.A., Virtual Culture

University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”
B.Sc., Computer Science


Ognyanova’s research areas include quantitative and computational methods, network science, social use of technology, political communication, and mass communication. Her work examines the impact of social structures and technology on civic behavior and the spread of misinformation. More recently, she has explored the social and political disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the flows of information about it.

 ORCiD and Publons research profiles.



Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Selected Publications

Ognyanova, K. (2022). Contagious politics: Tie strength and the spread of political knowledge. Communication Research, 49(1), 116–138. doi: 10.1177/0093650220924179

Lazer, D., Hargittai, E., Freelon, D., Gonzalez-Bailon, S., Munger, K., Ognyanova, K., & Radford, J. (2021). Meaningful measures of human society in the twenty-first century. Nature, 595(7866), 189–196. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03660-7

Ognyanova, K., Lazer, D., Robertson, R., & Wilson, C. (2020). Misinformation in action: Fake news exposure is linked to lower trust in media, higher trust in government when your side is in power. Misinformation Review, 1(4), 1–19. doi: 10.37016/mr-2020-024

Ognyanova, K. (2019). The social context of media trust: A network influence model. Journal of Communication, 69(5), 544–567. doi: 10.1093/joc/jqz031

Minozzi, W., Song, H., Lazer, D., Neblo, M., & Ognyanova, K. (2019). The incidental pundit: Who talks politics with whom, and why? American Journal of Political Science. 64(1), 135–151. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12469

Awards & Recognitions

Top 4 Papers Award, Mass Communication Division, International Communication Association (ICA) 2019

Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award, Department of Communication, Rutgers University, 2019

Dissertation Award, Mass Communication & Society Division, Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC), 2013

Top Paper, Political Communication Division, National Communication Association (NCA), 2012

Additional Resources

Research Keywords