Psychology

A game-theoretic explanation for the quirks of altruism: testing and using the theory

Faculty Member: Daniel Gilbert/Bethany Burum

 

Why do people give when asked, but actively avoid situations in which they will be asked? Choose to remain ignorant of information that would allow them to better help others? Pay relatively little attention to how much good they do with their giving? This experimental research program uses lab experiments to test a game theoretic explanation for why we give and why our giving has so many puzzling features. We also seek to demonstrate the ways that the emotions and ideologies that

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Caregiver-Reported Early Development Index (CREDI)

Faculty Member: Günther Fink

The primary aim of the Caregiver-Reported Early Development Index (CREDI) project is to develop population-level measure of early childhood development for children from birth to age three. In doing so, we hope to provide a tool that allows us to quantify children’s skills and needs across countries with the ultimate objective of making more informed decisions regarding ECD policies and resource allocation. Read more about Caregiver-Reported Early Development Index (CREDI)

High-Impact Research in Decision Science

Faculty Member: Jennifer S. Lerner

Dr. Jennifer S. Lerner is a Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Co-founder of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory. Drawing insights from psychology, economics, and neuroscience, her research examines human judgment and decision making. As an undergraduate research assistant, you would work with Dr. Lerner and her team on a variety of projects relevant to economics, finance, public health, and national security. Read more about High-Impact Research in Decision Science

Aggression & Decision-Making

Faculty Member: Professor Joshua Buckholtz

We are interested in how and why people make poor cost-benefit decisions in order to harm others. For example, why might someone choose to hurt another person in a dispute when the consequences for this action loom large? This project will investigate how and why people make decisions to aggress using a series of behavioral tasks looking at traits such as aggression, decision-making, impulsivity, and cognitive flexibility. Read more about Aggression & Decision-Making

Pentecostal Churches and Political Attitudes in Kenya

Faculty Member: Gwyneth McClendon

This project seeks to describe messages about inequality, political corruption, and state social spending that Pentecostal churches are dispensing in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to understand how these messages are affecting citizens’ political attitudes and behavior.

To that end, part of the project involves the development of a database of sermon texts from a representative sample of Pentecostal churches in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as a laboratory experiment at the Busara Center in Nairobi. I seek an RA to help with preparing the database of

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Emotion and Legal Reasoning

Professor Jennifer Lerner and Professor Yuval Feldman's research project on Emotion and Legal Reasoning consists of literature review, assistance in preparing submissions to IRB, support in development of experimental design, running experiments at the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory, and data analysis. Read more about Emotion and Legal Reasoning

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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