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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.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR 

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JAY VAN BAVEL is a 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 unofficial 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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ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATE

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ANNI STERNISKO : Research Affiliate

Anni obtained her Ph.D. in social psychology from New York University and her B.A. from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. She is interested in the social dynamics of conspiracy theory beliefs, polarization, and ideology. Anni has used her expertise to advise organizations on information campaigns, depolarization programs, and non-violent communication training. She also serves as an Expert Affiliate with the United Nations Team of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, which holds permanent consultative status at the U.N. In this role, she has worked on issues such as environmental injustice, data-driven policy making, and sustainable development.

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POSTDOC

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STEVE RATHJE : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Steve Rathje is a postdoctoral researcher with the Social Identity and Morality Lab, funded by grants from the Russel Sage Foundation, the AE foundation, and a Synergy Scholar Grant with the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding. He will be receiving his PhD from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, and he received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stanford University. Steve studies polarization and inter-group conflict on social media using field experiments, lab experiments, and computational social science methods.

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POSTDOC

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RAUNAK PILLAI : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Raunak Pillai is an incoming postdoctoral researcher. He received his BA in Neuroscience in 2019 from Vanderbilt University and will receive his PhD in Psychological Sciences from Vanderbilt in 2024, working with Dr. Lisa Fazio. His research aims to understand why people believe and share misinformation and identify optimal ways to deliver corrections. In grad school, he focused on the cognitive processes (i.e., memory, decision-making, language processing) involved in these issues. At the Social Identity and Morality Lab, he will continue examining these questions by integrating perspectives from cognitive and social psychology. Outside the lab, he enjoys cooking, tennis, and playing the guitar.

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POSTDOC

LAURA K. GLOBIG : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Laura is an incoming postdoctoral researcher with the Social Identity and Morality Lab. She will be receiving her PhD from University College London and was a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research examines the neural and computational basis of motivated cognition, with the goal of applying the insights obtained from this work to design interventions that reduce biased information-processing and thus aid in reducing the spread of misinformation online. At the Social Identity and Morality Lab, she will continue to adopt a multi-modal approach to help address real world issues, such as the spread of misinformation, polarization, and climate change.

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POSTDOC

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CLAIRE ROBERTSON : NYU Social Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow

Claire is an incoming postdoctoral researcher, appointed jointly in the Social Identity and Morality Lab at NYU and at the Rotman School of Business at University of Toronto. She completed her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at NYU in 2024. Her research focuses on intergroup conflict, in particular on political polarization. She has examined how people’s evolved predisposition towards negativity and moral threats leads to overexposure of intergroup hostility online, contributing to pluralistic ignorance and false polarization between groups. She has also examined  misinformation and conspiracy theory belief. She uses a wide array of methods in her research, including natural language processing, big data analysis, global mega-study collaborations, and computational cognitive modeling. When she’s not in the lab, you can find her wandering through the amazing farmers markets in NYC, trying new restaurants with her friends, or reading anything she can get her hands on. 

LAB MANAGER

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Sarah Mughal 

Sarah is a Junior Laboratory Associate in the Social Identity and Morality Lab and the Collective Cognition Lab at NYU. She received her BA and MA in Psychology at NYU, so she often finds herself accidentally walking into Bobst library instead of lab if she hasn’t had her coffee yet. Her research interests include the psychology of social media, discrimination and bias in AI/ML methods, and how psychiatric disorders like ADHD or anxiety affect social interactions and experiences. Outside of lab, Sarah can be found writing in museums, marathoning video games, or meticulously crocheting tiny socks for plushies. 

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PHD STUDENT

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DANIELLE GOLDWERT: NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Danielle received her B.A. in Psychology and Studio Art from the University of Miami in 2021 and then worked part-time as a research specialist in the Princeton University Behavioral Science for Policy Lab for two years. She began her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at NYU in 2022, where she conducts research at the intersection of social psychology and global climate change. Her primary advisor is Madalina Vlasceanu, and she collaborates with the Social Identity and Morality Lab to investigate how psychological, sociopolitical, and cultural factors influence public perception and behavior towards climate change, and how this understanding can drive more effective climate action. Outside of the lab, Danielle is passionate about painting, rock climbing, backpacking, and stop motion animation.

ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATE

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KAREENA DEL ROSARIO: NYU Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Kareena received her B.A. from San Francisco State University and worked at UCSF as the lab manager for Wendy Berry Mendes prior to beginning her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at NYU. Kareena is broadly interested in studying the effects of emotion and moral judgment on dyadic and group interactions. Her primary advisor is Tessa West and she collaborates with the Social Identity & Morality Lab to explore the physiological underpinnings of moral emotion. In her free time, Kareena enjoys reading magical realism and trying out new restaurants.

ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATE

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ALEXANDRA WORMLEY : Postdoctoral Scholar

Alexandra Wormley is a PhD candidate at Arizona State University and an incoming post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the intersection of ecology, culture, and religion. When not in the lab, Alexandra builds miniature dollhouses and fosters rescue dogs. 

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ACTIVE LAB AFFILIATE

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KE FANG : Social Psychology Ph.D. Student

Kay is a graduate Master’s student in Individualized Study at the NYU Gallatin School, and an incoming Ph.D student with Robert Hawkins. His research focuses on the polarization and synchronization of group-level memories, emotions, and attitudes that lead to collective action. He is especially interested in using novel ways to expand traditional social psychology research by bringing in theories and methods from macro-level sociology and communication studies as well as neuroscience. Before joining NYU, Kay received his Bachelor of Management from Lanzhou University in China, where he studied accounting and researched organizational psychology. He also writes popular science articles in Chinese to promote the wise use of scientific research. Outside of research, he enjoys pour-over coffee, going to museums, and drawing. 

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Research Assistants

LAB ALUMNI

To see a full list of lab alumni and their current positions, see this spreadsheet.

Former Postdoctoral Fellows

Kim Doell, Lab Director, University of Konstanz

Philip Pärnamets, Senior Research Specialist, Karolinska Institutet

Victoria Spring, Associate Editor, Nature Reviews Psychology

Andrea Pereira, Data and Research Manager, Child Helpline International; Lead Scientist, minds ge
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, Professor, University of Geneva
Andreas Kappes, Professor, City University of London
Christian Kaul, Chief Operating Officer, Stillfront Group
Tobias Brosch, Professor, University of Geneva

Madalina Vlaseacnu, Associate Professor, Stanford University

Former Primary Ph.D Students

Elizabeth Harris, Researcher, Analysis and Response Toolkit for Trust Initiative

Diego Reinero, Postdoc, University of Pennsylvania

Billy Brady, Professor, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
Jennifer Ray, Learning and Talent Measurement Manager, Takeda Pharmaceutical Center
Julian Wills, Quantitative User Researcher, Google
Leor Hackel, Professor, University of Southern California
Jenny Xiao, Professor, University of Washington-Tacoma

Former Secondary Ph.D Students

Rachel Leshin, Postdoc, Princeton University

Kate Thorson, Professor, Barnard College
Daniel Yudkin, Senior Advisor, More in Common
Rima-Marie Rahal, Researcher, Tilburg University
Ana Gantman, Professor, City University of New York-Brooklyn College
Hannah Nam, Professor, Stony Brook University
Yael Granot, Assistant Professor, Smith College
Lisa Chalik, Professor, Yeshiva University
Amy Krosch, Professor, Cornell University
Kyle Ratner, Professor, University of California-Santa Barbara

Former Affiliates and Visiting Scholars

Paulo Boggio, Professor, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie

Chiara Jutzi, PhD Candidate, Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg

Anna Greenburgh, Postdoctoral Researcher, King's College London

Jesper Rasmussen, Postdoctoral Researcher, Aarhus University

Clara Pretus, Professor, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Former MA Students

Tatiana Roberts, TBD

Simran Kaur, Survey Research Analyst, Cornell University

Nicole Nowotny, Executive Assistant, Radius Ventures, LLC
Nick Ungson, Visiting Asst. Professor, Albright College
Alea Skwara, PhD Student, University of California-Davis
Yogesh Raut, Social & Personality Psychologist & Writer (& Jeopardy winner!)
Justin (Duke) Lieberknecht, Associate Vice President of Marketing, American Homes 4 Rent

Former Lab Managers

Yifei Pei, Lab Manager, Yale University

Katie Brown, TBD

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

Rachel Tang, TBD [lab mentor: Victoria Spring]

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

Jena Sohn, TBD [lab mentor: Philip Pärnamets]
Anna Balchunas, Writer/Editor, Development Office, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center [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

Alejandro Calvo, Honors Student, Lawrence Ian Reed lab, New York University

Anees Goparaju

Armon Dadvand

Christina Capozzoli

Kinda Shammas

Lily Hafez

Shamauri Rivera

Yishu Lu

​​Diána Hughes

Yara Kyrychenko, PhD student, Cambridge

Anastasiia Korolevskaia, Honors Student, Lawrence Ian Reed lab, New York University

Christy Cheng

Cheryl Man, incoming MS Student, Cornell University

Andrew Gruber

Lauren Hyoseo Yoon, Undergraduate, Northwestern University

Cara Reschke, Associate UX Researcher, Match.com

Bayla Zohn

Natasia Pelowski

Maggie Liu

Sahar Hafezi

Brienna Carter, Undergraduate, Yale University
Matt Leipzig, Research Assistant, Stanford University
Prianka Koya, PhD student, UCLA
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

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