The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Welcomes 2013-2014 Fellows and Visiting Scholars

Thu, 09/12/2013


Stanford, CA: September 12, 2013 – The Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University today welcomed the 35 Fellows and eight visiting scholars who make up the Class of 2014.

Chosen through a rigorous selection process, the group represents some of academia’s most innovative scholarship across these behavioral sciences: anthropology, communication, economics, education, history, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, public health, psychiatry, psychology, science & technology, and sociology. The scholars hail from 21 universities in the United States, as well as from universities in Canada, England, and Sweden.

Fellows pursue their own research for the full academic year while contributing to the CASBS community through weekly seminars, occasional public lectures, and informal conversations over daily lunch.

Informal interaction, in particular, fosters the cross-pollination of ideas across disparate fields of study, said CASBS Director Iris Litt, MD, herself a Fellow (1985). “Fellows typically report an expansion in their thinking, and sometimes even a new approach to their research,” she said. “The launch of the field of behavioral economics, attributed in large measure to our own Daniel Kahneman, is an excellent example of this.” Kahneman, a Fellow in psychology (1978) received the Nobel prize in economic science in 2002.

During their CASBS year, Fellows address some of the most pressing problems of our day, seeking insight and innovation that will advance humanity at all levels – whether on the international stage, the workplace, or within the individual psyche. Among planned areas of study for members of this year’s class:

  • the notion of peoplehood and its implications in the Israel/Palestine conflict;
  • the manufacture of rayon – a textile marketed as ‘green,’ yet highly dangerous to the people who make it and the environment;
  • the economics of sexual orientation;
  • psychobiological triggers of mania in an individual;
  • the development of creativity in adolescence;
  • implications of copyright law and emerging technologies;
  • where data and behavior intersect.

About the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Since its founding in 1954, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University has brought together distinguished scholars in the behavioral sciences to confront societal problems worldwide. The Center is honored to count among its Fellows 22 Nobel laureates, 14 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 44 MacArthur Fellows, in addition to hundreds of members of the National Academies.

Fellows have helped develop new policies and practices in fields as diverse as medicine, education, electoral politics, crime prevention, and international development. And they’ve played key roles in starting new interdisciplinary fields such as behavioral economics. For ongoing news and events about CASBS, please visit and follow us on Twitter, @CASBSStanford.


Here are the 2013-2014 Fellows:

  • Ali Ahmed, economics, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study
    During his fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, economist Ali Ahmed will focus on addressing research questions related to economics of sexual orientation. While most of his research is in the field of economics of discrimination, he also studies behavioral economics, labor economics, and economics of religion.
  • Paul Blanc, public health, University of California, San Francisco
    Paul Blanc continues his research on the viscose rayon industry and occupational disease. He says the material is linked to widespread, often lethal disease among workers and environmental degradation. Yet, “Rayon is even marketed as a renewable green product,” he says, “because carbon disulfide is mixed with cellulose, a renewable resource.”
  • Elizabeth Bruch, sociology, University of Michigan
    Elizabeth Bruch plans to explore mate search strategies and mate choice behavior on online dating sites. She writes, “One central focus for me is how search strategies and contact behavior differs across dating markets … and also how people learn who is in their ‘league’ based on their interactions on the site.”
  • John M. Doris, philosophy, Washington University
    John M. Doris works at the intersection of psychology, cognitive science, and philosophical ethics. He is finishing work on a new book, Talking to Our Selves: Reflection, Skepticism, and Agency, and beginning work on a collection of his papers, Character Trouble: Undisciplined Essays on Persons and Circumstance, both to appear with Oxford University Press.
  • David Dunning, psychology, Cornell University
    While at CASBS, experimental psychologist David Dunning plans to work on a book examining the personal to societal implications of ignorance. He says he is particularly interested in “the fact that people largely fail to know where their knowledge and expertise end – and their ignorance begins.”
  • Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, sociology, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
    Cynthia Fuchs Epstein returns to the Center for a third fellowship to work on the upcoming book, The Difficulty of Doing Good: Law Students’ Commitment to Careers in the Public Interest. Her work looks at the use of categories and distinctions in social life, with a focus on their impact on women and minorities.
  • Sam Fleischacker, philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Sam Fleischacker plans to use his time at CASBS to examine a series of philosophical issues raised by the Israel/Palestine conflict. He’s particularly interested in the notion of peoplehood, the link (if any) between peoplehood and territory, and the question of whether states should represent or foster a people’s identity.
  • Sarah Freedman, education, University of California, Berkeley
    Returning Fellow Sarah Freedman will conduct data analysis and write about a five-year research project, The Development of Ethical Civic Actors in Divided Societies: Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. Of her work she says, “I am interested in linguistic analyses that provide windows into how varied students think about civic participation.”
  • Ilana Gershon, anthropology, Indiana University
    During her time at the Center, cultural anthropologist Ilana Gershon is studying how people agree upon ethical standards when using new media in the course of hiring and firing. Her previous work explored why Samoan migrants experience different ways of being culture-bearers in New Zealand and the United States.”
  • Merwyn (Mitch) Greenlick, public health, Oregon Health and Science
    Returning Fellow Mitch Greenlick will work on a book on the Oregon Legislature. From the time of his swearing-in, he recorded his reactions to the Legislature, forming a body of work spanning six legislative sessions; over time, perspective emerges from that of a minority freshman to that of a senior committee chair in the majority.
  • Barbara Heyns, sociology, New York University
    Returning Fellow Barbara Heyns studies the sociology of education, social stratification, sociology of childhood, social policy, adolescence and the life cycle, and quantitative methodology.
  • Sheri L. Johnson, psychology, University of California, Berkeley
    Sheri Johnson’s research focus during her CASBS year is psychobiological triggers of mania. “I like that my work bridges many different paradigms to help understand why people with bipolar disorder develop symptoms on a given day,” she says. “I also really love the process of working with collaborators and with students to develop ideas.”
  • Lee Jussim, psychology, Rutgers University
    Lee Jussim’s research looks at the relationships between social perception and social reality. His primary interests are interpersonal processes, judgment and decision-making, prejudice and stereotyping, self and identity, and social cognition.
  • Jon A. Krosnick, psychology, Stanford University
    Returning Fellow and social psychologist Jon Krosnick’s top priority for his Fellowship year is to finish his book reviewing 100 years of research on how to design questionnaires optimally. He researches attitude formation, change, and survey research methods. For 15 years, he has researched the American public’s views of global warming.
  • Ching Kwan Lee, sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
    In research for her upcoming book, Ching Kwan Lee poses the question, “what is the peculiarity of Chinese capital in Africa?”  In order to identify what is Chinese (not just capitalist), she compares Chinese and non-Chinese foreign investors in two core economic sectors in Zambia:  copper mining and construction.
  • Roger Levy, linguistics, University of California, San Diego
    Through study at the intersection of linguistics, cognitive science, and game theory, Roger Levy hopes his work will help us better understand how speakers and listeners are able to reason about each other to achieve effective communication. He will also study the language of children to better understand how language learning takes place.
  • Petra Moser, economics, Stanford University
    Returning Fellow Petra Moser’s research at CASBS will examine the effects of copyright policies: Do stronger copyright terms increase the price of books? And how do stronger copyright terms influence diffusion?
  • Heather Munroe-Blum, public health & nutrition, McGill University
    Heather Munroe-Blum will focus on how public policy in science and education contribute to a nation’s social and economic success within the larger global context – with particular attention to young people. It’s a natural extension of her work advising governments on the role that progressive, evidence-based public policy plays in enriching society and international competitiveness.
  • Ethan M. Pollock, history, Brown University
    Ethan Pollock’s current research project tells the history of the Russian bathhouse (bania) in order to gain new perspectives on Russian identity, traditional and modern notions of health and hygiene, and the evolution of ideas about community and sociability. It is under contract with Oxford University Press.
  • Nilam Ram, psychology, Penn State University
    Nilam Ram plans to write about how real-time assessments and analytics can empower people to use data about their own behavioral patterns in order to make changes that will help them have a better life. These “personalized interventions … can be deployed at population scale,” he says.
  • Byron Reeves, communication, Stanford University
    In his scholarship, Byron Reeves balances academic pursuit and business entrepreneurship. One area of focus is psychological processing of media in the areas of attention, emotions, learning, and physiological responses. He is working on the application of multi-player game technology to behavior change and the conduct of serious work.
  • Alison Renteln, political science, University of Southern California
    Alison Renteln’s research project focuses on various public policy incentives for civic engagement. “As part of this study, I will undertake comparative analyses of Good and Bad Samaritan laws and mandatory voting systems,” she says. “I am particularly interested in cross-disciplinary scholarship on empathy as it relates to political participation and humanitarian assistance.”
  • Lawrence Rosen, anthropology, Princeton University
    Anthropology Fellow Lawrence Rosen will work on his latest book, Drawn From Memory: Arab Lives Unremembered, a study of the intellectual lives of four ordinary Moroccans he has known many years. It analyzes the concept of memory in settings of the history, rural and urban development, religious, and ethnic relationships of the country.
  • Albert Rothenberg, psychiatry, Harvard University
    Returning Fellow Albert Rothenberg is studying the development of creativity and creative thinking during adolescence. It’s an extension of Studies in the Creative Process, a project where he serves as principal investigator and which has carried out research on creativity in literature, art, psychotherapy, and science.
  • Natalia Roudakova, communication, University of California, San Diego
    Natalia Roudakova’s work bridges cultural anthropology to political communication and comparative media studies. She notes, “Although there is some tradition of ethnography in journalism studies, anthropologists have not played much of a role in the field of political communication.” Her research addresses that gap.
  • Bruce J. Schulman, history, Boston University
    Bruce J. Schulman’s CASBS project, ‘Are We A Nation?’: The Birth of the Modern United States, explores the transformation of American nationhood between 1896 and 1929--the era in which the United States emerged as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir for displaced persons from around the globe.
  • Peter Stansky, history, Stanford University
    Peter Stansky’s scholarly aim is to better understand Britain, mostly in the areas where culture, literature, art, and politics meet, as in his collection of essays, From William Morris to Sergeant Pepper. His current project is a study of Edward Upward, the least-known member of the group who gathered around W. H. Auden.
  • Judith Tonhauser, linguistics, Ohio State University
    Judith Tonhauser’s project, Content and context in the study of meaning variation, is based on the idea that human languages may differ in their morphological inventories and syntactic structures, but nevertheless convey comparable meanings.
  • Molly S. Van Houweling, law, University of California, Berkeley
    Molly Van Houweling’s research focuses on copyright law's implications for new information technologies, and vice versa. One strand of her research explores how legal rules, designed to regulate sophisticated commercial interests, affect unsophisticated individuals empowered by information technology. She is currently working on a book, tentatively entitled Property's Intellect.
  • Robert Van Houweling, political science, University of California, Berkeley
    Robert Van Houweling plans to complete a book about political repositioning. It focuses on how voters react when politicians change their policy positions, and in turn, considers the impact voters' reactions have on candidate strategies. He has on-the-ground experience as well, having served as a legislative assistant to Senator Thomas Daschle.
  • Simine Vazire, psychology, Washington University
    While at CASBS, Simine Vazire will work on research related to self-knowledge, exploring these questions: How well do we know ourselves? How can we improve self-knowledge? And what are the consequences of poor self-knowledge? She will also be working on research methodology: How can we improve research practices in psychology? What are some common pitfalls researchers run into?
  • Michael D. Ward, political science, Duke University
    Political scientist Michael D. Ward’s primary interests are in international relations (spanning democratization, globalization, international commerce, military spending, as well as international conflict and cooperation), political geography, as well as mathematical and statistical methods.
  • Elaine Wethington, sociology, Cornell University
    Medical sociologist Elaine Wethington plans to work on a book about the potential for translational sociology, focusing on the sociology of mental health and illness and the life course. Her research interests are in the areas of stress, protective mechanisms of social support, aging and the life course, and translational research methods.
  • Erik Wibbels, political science, Duke University
    Political scientist Erik Wibbels’s CASBS project aims to develop innovative approaches to understand why the quality of governance varies across the geography of countries—why, for instance, central authorities in places like Afghanistan and Mexico are able to govern some parts of their countries but not others.
  • Steve Woolgar, science & technology studies, Oxford University
    Sociologist Steve Woolgar’s main current research projects include mundane governance, the social dynamics of provocation, and the utility of radical academic ideas for business and management. He is interested in technology and organizational change, branding and brand development, the rise of ethics, and visualization and evidence in eScience.

Complete bios of each Fellow, along with links to their work, may be viewed here.

Visiting scholars and practitioners in the Class of 2013-2014 include

  • Physicist, applied mathematician and computer scientist Eric Bonabeau of Icosystem Corporation,
  • Retired publisher, author, and journalist Howard M. Epstein, is working on Death or Survival:  The Battle for the Lives of French Jewish Children in World War II.
  • Poet, political consultant, and computer scientist Tung-Hui Hu is a scholar of new media.
  • Ellen Konar is a social organizational psychologist-turned-entrepreneurial data scientist and industry executive.
  • Literary agent and retired publisher Donald Lamm serves as editorial consultant to this year’s class.  He is particularly interested in the survival of the book in an age of information overload.
  • Arnold Milstein, MD will focus on formulating testable methods to increase the psychological nuance of innovations in care delivery designed to lower healthcare spending.
  • Professor and artist Julia Rothenberg looks forward to pursuing her art “in the gorgeous and haunting landscapes of Stanford and the hills and meadows of CASBS.”
  • Jane A. Shaw, the dean of Grace Cathedral, is writing about renewed interest in mysticism in the US and UK; separately she is working on a collaboration with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith.
  • Sociologist Anna Sparrman is researching the intertwinement of children, childhood, material culture, sexuality, and consumption from a contemporary, everyday perspective.
  • Paul Wise, MD, is investigating U.S. and international child health policy, particularly the provision of technical innovation in resource-poor areas of the world.