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Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab

Department of Psychology


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The Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab (CSDMLab) 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 human cooperation and decision-making in real-world social dilemmas. Examples include sustainability, public health, climate change, voting, donating, crime, prejudice, and misinformation. We are also interested in the foundations of trust, risk, and uncertainty, social belief systems, the study of social influence and media effects, the viral spread of fake news and (mis)information in social networks, and how insights from our research can help improve behavioural policymaking.

We work with many collaborators around the world, including Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia, Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, Northeastern University, Pomona College, King's College, Oxford, New York University, 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 behaviour" ought to be informed by real-world human social behaviour 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.