Members of our lab work on projects that represent a range of theoretical perspectives and behavioral outcomes of interest, and that take place in different areas of the world. We are united by an interest in applied behavioral science (Kahneman, 2012), in experimental methods, and in pragmatic theories that generate predictions about behavior in real world settings. Some of the topics that lab members are currently working on include the reduction of intimate partner violence, the consequences of participation in violence, the effects of university culture on students, and peacebuilding in conflict and post conflict settings. We meet weekly to workshop one project at a time. 

Duck faces of the lab, 2017... (thanks to Nathan Matias, postdoc, for reminding us that there are dozens of ways to build a duck)


Sherry Wu

I am a fifth year Ph.D candidate in psychology and social policy. My primary area of research is social psychology and the interplay of psychology and economics. Some of my current research questions ask: How do group dynamics influence individual behavior, such as worker productivity? What’s the impact of scarcity on people’s decision processes and psychological outcomes? How do we use psychological tools to nudge people into adopting more desirable behavior? For my dissertation, I am exploring how group decision making, and participation in a more democratic working condition, can increase worker productivity and change their social attitudes, using field experiments among Chinese factory workers in a multinational firm.

I received my B.A. in psychology and economics (summa cum laude) from University of Virginia in 2013. In my undergraduate life, I studied affective forecasting and cultural psychology with Tim Wilson and Shige Oishi. I also did research on game theories and bargaining in economics.


Robin Gomila

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in social psychology and social policy, working with Betsy Levy Paluck. In one line of research, I investigate how people consciously decide to engage in behaviors that are in direct opposition to strong and widely known ingroup norms. Specifically, I use qualitative and quantitative methods to characterize the psychological processes that precede deviance from prescriptive norms, and their chronology.

Another line of research examines the extent to which "authority sanction" (e.g., exclusionary law, politicians' hate speech) affects the conditions of intergroup contact and the chance of prejudice reduction following intergroup contact. 

I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Paris Descartes University (France) and worked as Betsy Levy Paluck’s Lab Manager for two years before starting my Ph.D.


Ana Gantman

I am a post-doctoral research associate at the Woodrow Wilson School of School of Public and International Affairs, and starting September 2018 I will be an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the City University of New York. I am working to understand the social, motivational and perceptual factors that perpetuate sexual assault on college campuses.

I received my Ph.D from New York University, where I began working on the intersection between motivation, morality, and perception. I have found that due to the motivational relevance of moral words, they are more likely to be seen--a phenomenon termed the moral pop-out effect. 


Roni Porat

I am a post-doctoral research associate at the Paluck lab in the Psychology Department at Princeton University. Starting in Fall 2019, I will be an Assistant Professor at Hebrew University. My research focuses on emotional processes and intergroup relations, and aims to develop research-based psychological field interventions that promote peaceful and egalitarian relations in conflicted societies. Im my current work I’m interested in looking at the role of emotion in processes related to norm perception and norm change.

I received my Ph.D from the Hebrew University in Israel, and my dissertation focused on emotional preferences in intergroup contexts.  




J. Nathan Matias

J. Nathan Matias (@natematias) is a computational social scientist who organizes citizen behavioral science initiatives toward a fairer, safer, more understanding internet. A Guatemalan-American, he is a post-doctoral researcher at the Princeton Paluck Lab in psychology and the Center for Information Technology Policy.

Nathan is the founder of CivilServant, a nonprofit that supports citizen-led behavioral science and conducts independent, public-interest audits and evaluations of social technologies. In 2017, Nathan completed his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab with Ethan Zuckerman on the governance of human and machine behavior in an experimenting society (video) (thesis). His recent research has focused on preventing harassment, broadening gender diversity on social media, responding to human/algorithmic misinformation, and auditing social technologies, studies that have collaborated with tens of millions of people on reddit and twitter. Nathan also publishes research on social movements, civic participation, and social change.

Before MIT, Nathan worked in tech startups that have reached over a billion phones, helped start a series of education and journalistic charities, and studied postcolonial literature at the University of Cambridge and Elizabethtown College. His writings have appeared in The Atlantic, PBS, the Guardian, and other international media.


Jordan Starck

I am a graduate student pursuing a joint degree in psychology & social policy. I study race, bias, and interventions for social change, often within the context of education.  One current line of research investigates how framing social policies and issues in various ways affects social perceptions and intergroup attitudes. Another line analyzes how teachers’ biases affect student outcomes.  I received my BS in Psychology and Professional Educator’s License from Davidson College, after which I spent four years as a K-12 educator where I taught a variety of social studies courses and consulted with educators, officers, and non-profits on topics related to bias.





Yang-Yang Zhou

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Politics at Princeton University, a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate research fellow, a Charlotte Elizabeth Procter honorific fellow, and a Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) graduate student fellow. 

My research primarily focuses on the effects of migration and forced displacement on citizenship and national identity in local, host populations. This work is funded by the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. Additionally, I study citizens' feelings of efficacy for demanding better public goods provision; how cash transfers and other economic development programs affect support of political violence; and whether refugees spread civil conflict. I also work to develop statistical methods for asking sensitive survey questions. Prior to Princeton, I worked for the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, and I received my BA in International Relations honors, Anthropology, and Africana Studies at NYU.


Joan Ricart-Huguet

I am a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton. My dissertation investigates the origins of colonial investments and their effects on political elite and government formation as well as their long-term consequences for welfare. In another project, I exploit a natural experiment to investigate the role of culture in the human development of young elites. The underlying motivation of my research is to show how education and culture can fundamentally affect development and the formation of elites. I rely on a wide range of evidence that includes original historical records, geospatial data, surveys and behavioral games.

Prior to starting my PhD, I obtained an MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from Columbia University as a recipient of la Caixa Graduate Fellowship. I also hold a BA in Political Science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and spent my undergraduate year abroad at the University of California, Berkeley. I have consulted for Innovations for Successful Societies and interned at the World Bank (Poverty Reduction and Economic Management) and at the United Nations Association.




Jason Chin


I am Betsy Levy Paluck’s lab manager. I earned my B.A. in Psychology from Boston University, where I was a research assistant in Kathleen Corriveau’s Social Learning Lab. Broadly speaking, my interests include Asian-American politics, moral psychology, and cultural identity formation. 





Paige Amormino


I am a Research Assistant and a senior in the Psychology department. I joined the lab as an RA last spring, and have assisted with a field study on workplace norms in China. I am still deciding what to do my independent research on, but current areas of interest include group dynamics, perception of self, and empathy.





Mariella Rubenson

I am an tenth grade student interested in market research and social psychology. I am especially interested in how kids think about their own behavior and how this affects the way they think about how people react to them. I am also interested in altruism and giving among kids and in ways of measuring this. For the last three years, I have conducted surveys and experiments on how people celebrate Christmas. For my last study Betsy Levy Paluck gave me ideas for an experiment on naughtiness (see: 


My latest research project included a survey on people's preferences for children's literature. It was a surprise gift for Betsy. You can read about it here

When I am not at school, I study ballet. I also enjoy reading, skiing, traveling with my family, and playing piano.


Lab Alumns!

Rebecca Littman

Aneesh Rai

Margaret Tankard

Jose Drost-Lopez

Ruth Ditlmann

Hana Shepherd

Courtney Bearns Tablante

Iniko Ntosake

Catherine Idylle

Aly Neel

Kulani Dias 

Heather Kugelmass

sherry pic.JPG