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Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab

Department of Psychology

Studying at Cambridge




The Cambridge Social Decision-Making (CSDM) lab explores the social and cognitive psychological processes underlying human social judgment, communication, and decision-making. We are particularly interested in the emergence, spread, and influence of social norms in shaping basic human cooperation in real-world social dilemmas. Examples include sustainability, public health, voting, charitable giving, and inequality. We are also interested in trust, risk, uncertainty and (attitude) polarization, the study of social influence, the spread of misinformation, social belief systems, and how insights from our research can help improve societal well-being and behavioral policymaking.

We work with many collaborators at both Cambridge and around the world, including Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia, NYU, UC Berkeley, Northeastern University, Pomona College, King's College, Oxford, University of Bristol and the LSE.

Our work is guided by full-cycle action research, integrating insights from different methodologies, moving continuously from the lab to the field and back. A fundamental guiding principle is that a discipline which aims to explore "the science of mind and behavior" ought to be informed by real-world human social behavior and decision-making. In the words of the great Kurt Lewin; "Nothing is as practical as a good theory, but research that produces nothing but books will not suffice".

Accordingly, the Social Decision-Making Lab strives to conduct psychological science in the public interest, which intersects nicely with Cambridge University's core mission: to contribute to society through the pursuit, dissemination, and application of knowledge.