Judgment Student Researchers

The Cornell Institute for Social Sciences and its 2009-2012 theme project “Judgment, Decision Making, and Social Behavior” are delighted to announce the creation of the JDSB Graduate Student Team. The team consists of a select set of graduate students from multiple disciplines with interests closely aligned with the theme project. This group will receive more intimate access to the JDSB project and to the JDSB Faculty Team. The goal is to catalyze further interactions and collaborations between economists and psychologists by developing interdisciplinary links between graduate students and faculty and between graduate students and other graduate students.

Phil Armour
Economics
Phil Armour is a second-year PhD student in the Economics Department.  He holds a BA in Economics, English Lit, and Mathematics from Pomona College and a MSc in Econometrics and Math Econ from the London School of Economics. Funded through the department of Policy Analysis and Management, Phil pursues research at the intersection of public policy and behavioral economics, such as analyzing the program participation of disabled young adults.  Central to this research agenda is the empirical evaluation and estimation of behavioral models with field data and field experiments. Other interests include economic analysis of law and legal institutions, how network structure affects economic outcomes, and behavioral industrial organization.
Priscila Brust
Human Development
Priscila Brust is a graduate student in Human Development at Cornell University. She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in psychology from Brazil. Her research interests encompass human judgment and decision making as well as behavioral economics and experimental psychology. In particular, she is interested in the mechanisms underlying decision-making problems. She works in Dr. Reyna’s Laboratory for Rational Decision Making at Cornell University and is a student member of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making.
Christina Chick
Human Development
Chrissie Chick is a Ph.D. student in human development. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Dartmouth College, where she conducted neuroimaging research on decision making in moral and legal contexts. She has also studied juror interpretations of functional MRI evidence in criminal cases. Chrissie currently studies framing effects and the genetic, neural, and molecular bases of individual differences in affect and decision making. Research in collaboration with Dr. Valerie Reyna has applied this approach to reducing unhealthy risk taking among adolescents.
Jeremy Cone
Psychology
Jeremy Cone came to Cornell from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, where he received a degree first in computer science in 2005 and then later returned to complete a degree in psychology. While there, he became extremely interested in two separate lines of psychological inquiry. The first involves how people arrive at particular judgments and decisions and the various errors and biases that occur along the way. In one line of work, he explored how people come to decide whether to trust their intuitions or their rational analysis when the two are in conflict. His second main set of interests is in the cognitive underpinnings of self-regulation and goal pursuit, and in particular, the ways in which we might pursue goals with relatively little intention or awareness of the goal-directed nature of behavior (“non-conscious goal pursuit”).
Jonathan Corbin
Human Development
Jonathan Corbin is a PhD. student in the Human Development program at Cornell University. He has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina Asheville and a M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Appalachian State University. He works in Dr. Valerie Reyna’s Laboratory for Rational Decision Making. He is interested in the relationships between cognitive abilities, memory and rational decision making. He is currently working on a project that focuses on possible age differences between children and adults with regard to the ability to recall gist versus verbatim information.
Jun Fukukura
Psychology
Jun Fukukura is interested in decision-making in consumer contexts. One area of her research looks at how distance (both physical and temporal) improves complex decision making. She has found that people are better able to choose the best product after experiencing a distant, as opposed to a near, mindset. She is also interested in how materialism is related to well-being. Although it is assumed that materialism affects well-being negatively, past studies are mainly correlational and use explicit measures. She studies materialism by utilizing an implicit measure (via a materialism Implicit Association Test) and has found that manipulating people’s orientations toward social interactions affect their positivity toward materialism related concepts.
Erik Helzer
Psychology
At the broadest level, Erik Helzer is interested in how people come to understand themselves in relation to the world around them. His primary interest is in how beliefs about agency and free will lead to biased assessments of one’s own future and the future states of other people. He also studies the factors that shape people’s moral judgments and their assessments of the intentionality of others’ behavior. Finally, he has a general interest in how beliefs about the social world are formed and upheld at the level of selective attention and information processing biases.
Ahmed Jaber
Economics
Ahmed Jaber is in his third year as a PhD student in the economics field. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from McGill University. He also spent a year at the National Bureau of Economic Research working for Amy Finkelstein on a large-scale project that involves randomly allocating health insurance to individuals in Oregon. Ahmed is currently funded through PAM to work on health economics projects about international patterns in smoking behavior. With his co-authors, he has published a paper in Preventive Medicine on the importance of accounting for differential mortality of smokers when constructing smoking prevalence curves. More recently, he has started working on a project on the intergenerational and social transmission of smoking. For his dissertation work, Ahmed ‘s focus is mainly in building political economy models that incorporate psychological biases of voters, with primary applications in the study of natural disasters and preferences for wealth redistribution.
Youcef Msaid
Economics
Youcef Msaid is a second year PhD student in the Field of Economics. He is interested in public economics, behavioral economics, social networks and social norms and computational economics. Particularly, he investigates the dynamics of information seeking and belief formation about the social consequences of individual behavior. Other ongoing research concerns the endogenous formation of networks and it’s implications for the transmission of information. Finally, as part of his involvement with the environmental research group at Cornell, he studies the economic and environmental consequences of geographically nested pollution reduction policies.
Alex Rees-Jones
Economics
Alex is a third-year Ph.D. student in economics whose research interests are focused in behavioral economics, but include topics in applied microeconomics and microeconomic theory. His current research is centered on reference-dependent behavior; specifically, developing empirical techniques to inform selection among models of reference point formation. Other ongoing research assesses the use of happiness or subjective well-being data in economic settings.
Emily Rosenzeig
Psychology
Emily Rosenzeig is a third-year Ph.D. student in social psychology. She received her B.A. in Public Policy from Princeton University, and then spent eight years working in education research prior to making the shift from field to the lab. She has a persistent interest in motivated reasoning, and in particular how awareness of our own motivated reasoning might influence its efficacy. Other current research projects include JDM work related to anchoring effects, and social cognition studies on the causes and effects of shifts in implicit social identity.
Nichole Szembrot
Economics
Nichole is a second-year Ph.D. student in economics. She is generally interested in behavioral economics, public finance, political economy, and experimental economics. She is especially interested in how biases in the formation and updating of beliefs influence economic decisions and voting behavior. Her research agenda also includes exploring the development of group identity and its interaction with social preferences.
Brandon Tripp
Economics
Brandon Tripp is a second year graduate student in the field of Economics. He is interested in Behavioral Economics, Environmental Economics, Decision Theory, and Applied Econometrics. He is currently working on projects involving: corporate social responsibility and the incentives behind voluntary standards adoption, workplace public good contributions and worker productivity, experienced utility and theoretical links between happiness and standard utility measures, projection bias and its implications for consumption patterns, and empirical analysis of addictive behavior.
Evan Wilhelms
Human Development
Evan Wilhelms is a Ph.D. student in the department of Human Development at Cornell University. He earned his B.S. in psychology and philosophy at Baldwin-Wallace College. He is currently working in the Laboratory for Rational Decision making under Dr. Valerie Reyna. His current research compares participants’ responses to traditional risky choice framing and temporal discounting tasks with their behavior and attitudes regarding a variety of different spheres of personal risk. Future projects include testing the assumption of cognitive inhibition in reasoning and decision making tasks, as well as improving the understanding of financial decision making processes to inform policy recommendations regarding poverty and social support systems.