MEET OUR TEAM

Thank you for your interest in the Social Identity & Morality Lab!

We have lab meetings every Friday. Please contact us if you are interested in attending lab meetings or presenting your research. If you are interested in joining the lab, please see the Join Us page for more information.

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PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR 

JAY VAN BAVEL is an Associate Professor of Psychology & Neural Science at New York University, an affiliate at the Stern School of Business in Management and Organizations, and Director of the Social Identity and Morality Lab. To read Jay's official bio in full, go to his NYU home page. Here is his unoffical bio:

After giving up on his dream to become a professional hockey player, Jay became the first person in his family to graduate from college. It took him three years of his undergraduate degree before he realized that research was conducted at universities (despite attending the third-largest research university in Canada). After his first year of graduate school at the University of Toronto, Jay's Ph.D. advisor (Ken Dion) tragically passed away and he was orphaned until a new assistant professor (Wil Cunningham) adopted him. A year later, his new advisor was poached by The Ohio State University and Jay moved to Columbus, Ohio as a visiting scholar. Jay completed most of his Ph.D. requirements (orals, proposal, etc) in various hotel lobbies during the annual SPSP convention since it was the only time and place he could get all his committee members in the same room. In his first year as an assistant professor, Jay had ten papers and three grants rejected and zero publications. His son and daughter were born in his first two years as a faculty member and ensured that he maintained the appearance and intellectual capacity of a zombie until he went up for tenure.

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PHILIP PARNAMETS : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Philip completed his PhD in cognitive science at Lund University and has spent two years as a postdoc with the Emotion Lab at Karolinska Institutet. His research is grounded in a broad interest in the cognitive and computational mechanisms underlying preference change, decision making and learning, especially in the moral domain. In the Social Identity and Morality lab his work focuses on dynamic models of social learning about moral agents and of moral choices generally. Philip spends his spare time creating, listening or dancing to electronic music.

POST-DOC

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POST-DOC

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KIMBERLY DOELL : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

While at the University of Geneva, Kim completed her MSc and PhD in neuroscience, and then spent 3 years as a postdoc focusing on environmental and affective psychology. Her research broadly combines components of social cognition, reward processing, and sustainable decision making, with the overarching goal of investigating and promoting pro-social and pro-environmental behaviours. In the Social Identity and Morality Lab, Kim’s research aims to understand how various levels of social identity alter the way people process climate change information and influences their environmental behaviors. Kim enjoys spending her free-time outdoors. This could include relaxing in the park, hiking, or even scuba diving.

VICTORIA SPRING : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Victoria received their Ph.D. in psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2020, where they specialized in cognitive-affective neuroscience. Victoria is interested in social emotions such as empathy (and why we don’t have it), anger (and why we’re afraid of it), and moral judgment (and why we mostly just judge marginalized people). Specifically, they're interested in how individual, group, and situational factors influence our perception of different social emotions and how those emotions are transformed into subsequent moral and political behavior.

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POST-DOC

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ANNI STERNISKO : NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Anni earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität Munich and holds a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy from New York University. Anni is broadly interested in psychological processes related to people’s world views and construal of reality. She primarily focuses her research on conspiracy theory beliefs and their consequences for society. Anni is also studying political ideology, political action, and moral decision-making. Besides conducting research, Anni is a passionate runner and ceramics enthusiasts.

PHD STUDENT

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ELIZABETH HARRIS : NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Elizabeth received her BSc in psychology from the University of Western Ontario in 2017 and began her PhD in Social Psychology at NYU later that year. She is broadly interested in studying the effects of group identity on different aspects of cognition- such as the effects of political identity on punishment judgements and attention and the effects of national identity on taste evaluation. When not doing science, Elizabeth enjoys reading murder mysteries and getting lost in parks. 

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PHD STUDENT

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PHD STUDENT

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CLAIRE ROBERTSON : NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Claire received her BA in Psychology from Kenyon College in 2017 and then worked for two years as a research specialist in the Princeton University Baby Lab. She began her PhD in Social Psychology at NYU in 2019, and since then has spent her time researching the use of moral and emotional content in news stories and voting behavior. She is also interested in misinformation, political partisanship, and moral decision making. When she’s not in the lab (or, more recently, working in her bed), you can find her wandering through the amazing farmers markets in NYC, writing down recipes for her friends, or reading anything she can get her hands on. 

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ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATES

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CLARA PRETUS : NYU Social Psychology Visiting Scholar

Clara obtained her PhD at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where she specialized in Social Neuroscience, and her MSc in Neuroscience at King’s College London. Her research focuses on intergroup conflict, extremism and parochial altruism using neuroimaging techniques. She is now visiting the Social Identity and Morality lab, where she is conducting research on the role of moral-emotional language in online content diffusion. During the pandemic she has been daydreaming about being able to travel again. 

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ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATES

RACHEL LESHIN : NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Rachel received her BA from Northwestern University in 2015, where she double-majored in psychology and gender studies. Her interests lie at the intersection of social and developmental psychology; her research primarily focuses on children's construction of social categories and the environmental inputs that shape this process. Her primary advisor is Marjorie Rhodes, and she collaborates with the Social Identity & Morality Lab on a line of research examining the influence of parental political ideology on children's conceptions of fairness and morality. 

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ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATES

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STEVE RATHJE : PhD student at the University of Cambridge

Steve Rathje is pursuing a PhD in Psychology at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Previously, he studied Psychology and Symbolic Systems at Stanford University. Steve collaborates with the Social Identity and Morality lab on projects related to misinformation and political polarization on social media using methods from experimental psychology and computational social science.

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PHD STUDENT

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ALI JAVEED : NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Ali received his Bsc with honors in psychology from the University of Toronto in Spring 2021, and began his PhD in Social Psychology at NYU in Fall 2021. By drawing on moral psychology and affective science, and conducting research in the topics of intergroup conflict, emotion regulation, moralization, and extremism, Ali seeks to answer: “how can we better understand moral conflict, motivate social change, and bring people together?”. Ali’s research interests are informed by time as an independent photojournalist, and can likely be found at political actions in NYC and Toronto if not in a library basement or glued to a whiteboard.

THESIS STUDENT 

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RACHEL TANG : NYU Undergraduate Student 

Rachel is an undergraduate student majoring in psychology. At the moment, Rachel is intrigued by the social nature of anger. She is currently preparing to work on her honors thesis in the lab about reputational and prosocial motives for expressions of outrage. When doing nothing else, Rachel likes to talk excessively about Seattle and Taiwan. She also occasionally builds miniature wooden models of bridges.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

LAB ALUMNI

Former Postdoctoral Fellows

Andrea Pereira, Data and Research Manager, Child Helpline International; Researcher, Minds
Peter Mende-Siedlecki, Professor, University of Delaware
Shona Tritt, Faculty Lecturer, University of Toronto
Sharareh Noorbaloochi, Vice President, Goldman Sachs
Oriel FeldmanHall, Professor, Brown University
Geraldine Coppin, University of Geneva
Andreas Kappes, Professor, City University of London
Christian Kaul, Chief Operating Officer, Stillfront Group
Tobias Brosch, Professor, University of Geneva

Former Primary Ph.D Students

Diego Reinero, Postdoc, Princeton University

Billy Brady, Postdoc, Yale University
Jennifer Ray, Behavior Change Solutions Manager, Mind Gym
Julian Wills, Researcher, Facebook
Leor Hackel, Professor, University of Southern California
Jenny Xiao, Professor, University of Washington-Tacoma

Former Secondary Ph.D Students

Kate Thorson, Professor, Barnard College
Daniel Yudkin, Postdoc, University of Pennsylvania
Rima-Marie Rahal, Researcher, Tilburg University
Ana Gantman, Professor, City University of New York-Brooklyn College
Hannah Nam, Professor, Stony Brook University
Yael Granot, Professor, Loyola University Chicago
Lisa Chalik, Professor, Yeshiva University
Amy Krosch, Professor, Cornell University
Kyle Ratner, Professor, University of California-Santa Barbara

Former MA Students

Tatiana Roberts, To be determined

Simran Kaur, To be determined 

Nicole Nowotny, Executive Assistant, Radius Ventures, LLC
Nick Ungson, Visiting Asst. Professor, Albright College
Alea Skwara, PhD Student, University of California-Davis
Yogesh Raut, PhD Student, New Mexico State University
Justin (Duke) Lieberknecht, Associate Vice President of Marketing, American Homes 4 Rent

Former Lab Managers

Sarah Grevy Gotfredsen, MS Student, Columbia University
Sophie (Wharton) Smith, Insight Analyst, LinkedIn
Jillian Swencionis, PhD, Postdoc, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Former Honors Thesis Students

Sarah Grevy Gotfredsen, MS Student, Columbia University [lab mentor: Diego Reinero & Philip Pärnamets]

Jena Sohn, TBD [lab mentor: Philip Pärnamets]
Anna Balchunas, Development Assistant, The Rockefeller University [lab mentor: Diego Reinero]
Stephanie Leung, PsyD Student, Pace University [lab mentor: Billy Brady]
Jonathan Rosenthal, MD Student, NYU School of Medicine [lab mentor: Leor Hackel]
Jayson Dorsett, Research Specialist, University of Pennsylvania [lab mentor: Jennifer Ray]
Bosi Chen, PhD Student, San Diego State University / University of California-San Diego [lab mentor: Leor Hackel]
Jessica Dubin, Chemistry Teacher, Brooklyn Frontiers High School [lab mentor: Daniel Yudkin]
Julia Schaus [lab mentor: Jenny Xiao]
Natasha Thalla, PhD, UX Researcher, Facebook [lab mentor: Daniel Yudkin]
Leslie Berntsen, PhD, Lecturer, University of Southern California [lab mentor: Amy Krosch]
Bram Schumer, JD, Lawyer, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP [lab mentor: Jay Van Bavel]
Ian Kurth, Senior Associate, Alta Capital Group [lab mentor: Jay Van Bavel]

Former RAs

Brienna Carter, Undergraduate, Yale University
Matt Leipzig, Research Assistant, Stanford University
Prianka Koya, Lab Manager, University of Chicago
John Andrew Chwe, PhD Student, NYU
Yi Zhang, PhD Student, University of Southern California
Zoe Kleiman, Neuroendocrine Unit Research Intern, Massachusetts General Hospital
Simone Van Taylor, Research Network Program Associate, Harmony Labs
Jino Kwon, MA Student, New York University
Emily Korf, Research Assistant, CSP
Suraiya Allidina, PhD Student, University of Toronto
Dominic Burkart, Software Engineer/Scientist
Mikaela Kane, MsEd Student, Hunter College
Siri Loken, MD Student, University of California-Irvine School of Medicine
Ashley Castro, PhD Student, DePaul University
Xi Shen, PhD Student, Cornell University
Shreyas Ganesh, Senior Analyst, Hearts & Science
Marc Simon, The Trevor Project
Meslissa Huang
Eugene Jaw, Senior Data Associate, Publicis Sapient
Poorvi Iyer, PhD Student, London School of Economics
Melanie Corwin, Digital Crisis Services Coordinator, The Trevor Project
Ryan Salim, PhD Student, St. John's University
Nick Ichien, Graduate Student, University of California-Los Angeles
Heba Allam