Matthew Nisbet

Affiliate Researcher

Associate Professor
School of Communication
American University

Affiliate Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Science
American University


Matthew Nisbet is Associate Professor of Communication and Co-Director of the Center for Social Media at American University. His research investigates the role of communication in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over science, sustainability, and public health. He is the author of more than fifty peer-reviewed studies, book chapters, and monographs. Nisbet has been a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Google Science Communication Fellow, and a Shorenstein Fellow in Press, Politics, and Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism.” Since 2002, Nisbet's scholarship has been cited more than 850 times in the peer-reviewed literature and in more than 300 books.


BA (’96), Government, Dartmouth College
MS/PhD (’03), Communication, Cornell University

Selected Publications: 

Nisbet, M.C., Markowitz, E.M., & Kotcher, J. (2012). Winning the Conversation: Framing and Moral Messaging in Environmental Campaigns. In L. Ahern & D. Bortree, (Eds.). Talking greenExploring current issues in environmental communication. New York: Peter Lang.

Myers, T., Nisbet, M.C., Maibach, E.W., & Leiserowitz, A. (2012). A Public Health Frame Arouses Hopeful Emotions about Climate Change.  Climatic Change Research Letters, 1105-1121.
Nisbet, M.C., Maibach, E. & Leiserowitz, A. (2011). Framing Peak Petroleum as a Public Health Problem: Audience Research and Participatory Engagement.  American Journal of Public Health, 101: 1620-1626. 
Nisbet, M.C. (2011). Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate. Washington, DC: American University, School of Communication.
Nisbet, M.C. (2011). Public Opinion and Political Participation. In D. Schlosberg, J. Dryzek, & R. Norgaard (Eds.). Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Fahy, D. & Nisbet, M.C. (2011). The Science Journalist Online: Shifting Roles and Emerging Practices.Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism12: 778-793.
Besley, J. & Nisbet, M.C. (2011). How Scientists View the Media, the Public, and the Political Process. Public Understanding of Science.
Maibach, E., Nisbet, M.C. et al. (2010). Reframing Climate Change as a Public Health Issue: An Exploratory Study of Public ReactionsBMC Public Health 10: 299
Nisbet, M.C. (2009). Communicating Climate Change: Why Frames Matter to Public EngagementEnvironment, 51 (2), 514-518.
Nisbet, M. C., & Kotcher, J. E. (2009). A two-step flow of influence?: Opinion-leader campaigns on climate change. Science Communication, 30(3), 328-354.
Nisbet, M.C. & Myers, T. (2007). Twenty years of public opinion about global warming. Public Opinion Quarterly, 71(3), 444-470.
Curriculum Vitae: