Past Research

State Legislative Responses to Demographic Change

The project is a longitudinal study of state legislative responses to demographic change. In particular we are interested in the relationship between growth in a state's minority population and efforts to restrict voting rights. Our empirical scope includes legislative efforts in every U.S. state, from 2000-2012 .  The scholar is responsible for collecting and coding data on state legislative activity regarding voting rights.  We are trying to determine to what extent state efforts to restrict voting rights--e.g. through practices such as limits on early voting or same-day...

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The Cognitive and Neural Basis of Episodic Memory

Faculty Member:  Daniel Schacter

Description:  We conduct research investigating the cognitive and neural basis of episodic memory—the ability to remember events from the personal past—and processes leading to memory distortions. We utilize cognitive and behavioral testing as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in healthy younger and older volunteers and individuals with clinical conditions known to affect memory processes, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Student RAs are responsible for conducting cognitive testing in healthy younger and older...

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The Challenges of Understanding Others

The SCAN lab studies how humans understand the thoughts, feelings and mental states of other people. We employ both functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and behavioral methods to study the neural correlates and processes of social cognition. For more information about lab research please see our website:  http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~scanlab/papers.html.  Research assistants help prepare experimental stimuli, recruit and screen subjects, and conduct behavioral and fMRI experiments.  Students have the opportunity to become involved in all levels of research including designing...

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Building a Corpus of Spontaneous Speech in Tsez

We plan to create a corpus of spontaneous speech in Tsez, an endangered language of the Caucasus spoken by about 6,000 people, and three endangered Mayan languages. The project will involve collecting, transcribing and annotating the data in such a way that they could be used by other researchers. We will then compare these languages to spoken production from several heritage languages (Russian, Chinese, Avar, Spanish, and Mam) whose corpora will also be transcribed and annotated.


Student Responsibilities:
Recording of speakers; help with transcriptions; help...

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The Emergence of Party Discipline in the British House of Commons

This project comprises the compilation of the most extensive database of British legislative records ever built.  We have already acquired every speech made in the British House of Commons after 1803, and are soon to acquire every roll call undertaken between 1832 and 1900.  Our research focuses on when and how party discipline emerged in the British House of Commons.  Primary responsibility of the student is  to 'clean up' of roll call...

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A Stylometric Analysis of Phillip Wright's "The Tariff on Animal and Vegetable Oils"

This research project is a continuing project of the stylometric analysis of Phillip Wright's Appendix B from his book, "The Tariff on Animal and Vegetable Oils", which outlined the method of instrumental variable regression. A number of letters between Phillip and Sewall Wright contain the development of IV regression. This project requires deciphering the statistical work in their letters. It will also be useful to recreate some of the statistical...

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Longitudinal Study of War-Affected Youth

In 2002, in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee, Dr. Betancourt, director of the FXB Center’s Research Program on Children and Global Adversity began a prospective longitudinal study (LWSAY) on children associated with armed conflict and armed groups (CAAFAG) in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Follow-up data were collected in 2003/2004 and 2008. The sample includes former child soldiers and other war-affected youth. It was the first...

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Digital Humanities

Over the past two years, Afsaneh Najmabadi has developed a digital archive and website that preserves, links, and renders accessible primary source materials related to the social and cultural history of women’s worlds during the reign of the Qajar dynasty (1796 – 1925) in Iran. Over the next period, the project will be focused on is the development and launch of two new features: an interactive research platform and an interactive genealogy and geography...

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A Question of Civic Engagement: Comparing the Role of Religion in America and Britain

Spring 2009

America and Britain present an interesting paradox with regards to religion and other forms of civic engagement. In America, civic engagement has declined but religious activity is stable, while in Europe civic engagement has largely remained stable while religious activity has declined. Thus the...

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The Magnitude and Bias of Statistical Errors within a Geographically Denominated Area: Analyzing the Violence Following Kenya's Elections of December 2007

Fall 2009

The aim of this project was to gather and analyze diverse data sets, using GIS technology, to test hypotheses about the sources of violence in Kenya following the elections of December 2007. We used data on ethnicity, land status (tenants, squatter, land owner), income, migration status, and partisan...

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Study of Factionalism, Political Selection, and Intra-Party Conflict in the Last Two Parliamentary Elections in Ghana

Spring 2010-Summer 2010

This project was a study of the micro-level dynamics of patronage and factionalism within African political parties that drive the selection of political elites and which may interfere with or reinforce the accountability of politicians to constituents. ...

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Studying the Role that Judges' Personal Backgrounds Might Have on Their Decision-Making

Spring 2011

Natalie Padilla is assisting Professor Adam Glynn in gathering data on federal judges' family biographies. Much has been written about the role of ideology in judicial  decision making, but less has been written about the way that a judge's own personal background might affect how he or she...

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