Kristi Costabile

Assistant Professor
Dept: Psychology
Office:W112 Lagomarcino
Courses Taught
ComSt 203 – Research Methods
Psych 484 – Close Relationships
Psych 280 – Social Psychology
Psych 383 – Psychology and the Law
Degrees
B.S. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Rhetoric and Psychology
M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, Psychology
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara, Psychology
Teaching
In every course, I aim to educate students on the basic psychological principles, how these principles were developed, and how they can be applied appropriately to experiences in the real world. The study of communication is an immensely challenging and exciting enterprise – and I hope to nurture students’ enthusiasm for the discipline. In so doing, students will learn how to think both critically and creativity – skills that they will take with them as they move beyond their university education.
How I Came to Communication Studies
Storytelling is the primary mode of human discourse. It is how rules and guidelines are transmitted through a culture and how information is passed from one generation to the next. Stories are engaging, entertaining, and persuasive. Stories are able to affect our thoughts and beliefs in a way that no other discourse genre is able to.

I love stories. I have always been the type of person who gets “lost” in a book, where I get so wrapped up in the story I am reading that I lose sense of what is happening in my physical world. I’ve always been interested in learning about how stories hold such power over us. As an undergraduate student, I majored in psychology and rhetoric. My honors project examined how the use of storytelling by attorneys can affect perceptions of a criminal defendant’s guilt or innocence.
Recent Publications
Shedlosky-Shoemaker, R.A., Costabile, K.A., & Arkin, R.M. (2014). Self-expansion through
fictional characters, Self and Identity, 13, 556-578.
Costabile, K.A. & Terman, A.W. (2013). Effect of Film Music on Psychological Transportation and Narrative Persuasion. Basic and Applied Social Psychology.
Costabile, K. A. (2011). Rude or Rushed? Effects of narrative and impression processing objectives on person perceptions. Social Cognition, 29, 445-475.
Current Research
The ability to communicate by telling stories is a basic constituent of human social and cultural life. In fact, children demonstrate competence at narrative comprehension and creation before they can recite the alphabet. Story-telling appears to be universal: Evidence suggests that cultures around the world, throughout time, have used narratives as a method for describing social information (Barthes, 1977). In my research, I examine how narratives facilitate the construal of oneself and one’s social world.
Outside the University
When I have to leave campus, I am spending time with my family. We are often hiking or bikeriding or doing some kind of home renovation. These days, my husband and I (and our little pup), spend most of our time enthralled with our adorable baby boy. It is amazing to watch this little guy grow and develop!