Professor Lang received her BA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1980, her MA from the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1983, and her Ph.D. from Wisconsin-Madison in 1987. She spent 7 years on the faculty at Washington State University before joining the IU faculty in 1995.
Professor Lang has developed a general, data driven model about how people process messages in all media - from the original media of light (which affords vision) and air (which afford hearing) through the instantiation of messages into representational and symbolic systems and their transmittal across distances first by animal and later by electronic means. Her research focuses on the overtime interaction of the embodied brain, and mediated messages in a given context. To track this interaction she uses psychophysiological and cognitive methodologies. Her work has brought a host of theoretically grounded measures to the field including measures of information density, structural complexity, and individual differences in motivational activation.
Professor Lang has served as editor of the journal Media Psycholog and is currently on or has served on the editorial boards of most major journals in the field of communication. To date her research has resulted in over 100 academic publications and been supported by almost 3 million dollars in grants. She received the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Krieghbaum Under 40 award in 1997, was elected a Fellow of the International Communication Association in 2007 and received the association's Steven H. Chaffee career productivity award in 2009. She was named a University of Florida, School of Journalism and Mass Communication distinguished alumna in 2007.