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Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab

Department of Psychology

Studying at Cambridge



Director (Principal Investigator)


Dr. Sander van der Linden is a University Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology and a Fellow in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Churchill College, University of Cambridge. Prior to Cambridge, van der Linden held academic appointments at Princeton University and Yale University. He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

    Department Biography

E-mail: | Office:+44 (0)1223 (3)30398


Postdoctoral Research Associates

Dr. Claudia R. Schneider

Claudia Schneider received her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. Her work lies at the intersection of decision science and applied social psychology. At Cambridge, she studies the communication of uncertainty about evidence to various stakeholders. Her doctoral research investigated factors that influence human decision making and prosocial behaviour, to address real world social issues such as climate change mitigation and intergroup conflict. Her work uses a combination of methods ranging from quantitative surveys to field studies.


Dr. Anne Marthe van der Bles


Anne Marthe van der Bles received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Groningen in 2017. At Cambridge, her research focuses on how people react to uncertainty about evidence and the most effective way to communicate uncertainty. She is also interested in societal trust in facts and in societal discontent and conducts mostly quantitative laboratory, survey, and field studies to investigate these topics. Her doctoral work received the 2016 Kurt Lewin Institute Best Paper Award. E-mail:


Graduate Students

Melisa Basol PhD Student


Melisa is a Gates scholar and received an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology (Distinction) from Cambridge. Originally from Germany, she has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Psychology from Aberystwyth University. With a focus on complex societal and political decisions, she's interested in the formation, polarisation, and ‘immunisation’ of attitudes where the spread of misinformation poses a threat to science & society.


Karly Drabot PhD Student (with Prof. Melissa Hines)


Karly is a Gates scholar and received her BA (Hons) in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and a MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology from the University of Cambridge. During the MPhil, she examined the differential relationships between domains of gender typicality and psychosocial wellbeing. More broadly, she is interested in the effects of gender stereotyping and stereotype threat on perceived leadership aptitude.


Patrick McClanahan PhD Candidate


William (Patrick) McClanahan is a PhD candidate in Psychology at the University of Cambridge examining how individual traits and situational factors predict criminal decision-making. Originally from the United States (Roanoke College ’15 - Magna Cum Laude) his background is in Psychology and Criminal Justice. His MPhil (University of Cambridge ’17 – Distinction) focused on decision-making of juvenile offenders. William is also part of the Policy Research Group at Cambridge University.


Kayleigh Dawson, MPhil '2018


Kayleigh Dawson received a first-class degree in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) from Jesus College at the University of Cambridge. Kayleigh is exploring the wisdom of the crowd in social norms and how such norms help to guide and facilitate people towards everyday and online behaviours.



Cecilie Olesen, MPhil '2018


Cecilie Olesen received her MSc in Social Cognition (with Distinction) from UCL, and holds a First Class Honours BSc in Marketing with Psychology from the University of Lancaster. Cecilie’s main research interests lie within social cognition; particularly the social and cognitive processes underlying human behaviour. For her MPhil project she is investigating social processes linked to inoculation against misinformation.



Undergraduate Research Assistants


Amos Fong


Amos Fong recently graduated with a degree in PBS from St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. He is interested in online echo chambers, and works with Twitter data to examine language differences among communities holding contrasting views (e.g., popular science, climate change deniers). When he isn’t studying online social networks, Amos is involved in connecting great ideas across different spheres as the organizer of TEDxCambridgeUniversity.


Visiting Research Students

Rakoen Maertens (Lab Manager)


Rakoen is a visiting Master's student with ambition to bring Psychological Science to the world of Global Issues. With a BSc in Experimental Psychology from Ghent University, Rakoen is a scientist with an international outlook. At Cambridge he will be focusing on decision-making biases, fake news, and disinformation. Outside of the academic world, Rakoen is entrepreneurially engaged in projects related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Elif Çoker


Elif recently completed her MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Although her recent work was in developmental psychology, Elif is interested in the intersection of policy- and decision-making, especially wanting to explore how choice architecture can help individuals make more environmentally conscious choices. Originally from Turkey, she holds bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Sociology (Columbia University ’17 - Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and in Political Science (SciencesPo ’15 - Cum Laude).


Vivien Chopurian


Vivien is an MSc student at the Free University of Berlin and was a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Both her research experience and prior work in management consulting sparked her interest for investigating cognitive, behavioural and neural changes in social decision-making processes induced by new technologies and effective communication of scientific evidence.



Charley Lenton-Lyons


Charley Lenton-Lyons has a Bachelor’s in Zoology from Royal Holloway University and was a Research Intern at James Cook University in Australia. Charley combines his background in the biological sciences with that of social psychology to develop strategies that can encourage more widespread adoption of pro environmental behaviours. He recently finished a Master of Research degree in Psychology at the University of Bath.


Senior Research Affiliates

Dr. Cameron Brick


Cameron is a postdoctoral Research Associate at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge. He completed a PhD in Social Psychology at University of California Santa Barbara, and taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College, NY. He researches the psychology of how people communicate about and react to society-level problems such as climate change. He uses motivations and social identities to build quantitative laboratory, survey, and field studies on communication and behaviour.

Jon Roozenbeek


Jon Roozenbeek is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavonic Studies in Cambridge. His research focuses on the development of the mass media landscape in Eastern Ukraine. Aside from this, he works on media theory, including framing theory, content analytics, social media and the dynamics of online debate. To fight the spread of disinformation, he has co-developed an educational "Fake News Game" and coordinates the testing of this game at schools and universities.

Dr. Ahmed Izzidien     


Dr. Izzidien graduated with a BEng(Hons) from King's College London, an MSc from UMIST, and a PhD from the Institute of Medical Engineering and Medical Physics. He studied the interplay of the neurosciences, behaviour and law at Cambridge University for his MPhil. His current projects involve decision making theory in polarised settings, discernment indicators, and the cognition of law. His ongoing research uses a multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating across departments. He has previously worked at Harvard and Cambridge.


Lab Statistician

Breanne Chryst


I am an Affiliated Lecturer in Statistics in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. I received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (Cum Laude) from the University of Utah in 2012 and a Master of Arts and PhD(cand) in Statistics from Yale University in 2014. I am interested in Bayesian Analysis, Network data sampling, Machine learning, evidence-based policy and computational social science.


Graduates and Previous Lab Members

Philipp Jabold 'MPhil 2018


Philipp graduated with an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology (High Distinction) from the University of Cambridge. He received his BSc (Hons) in psychology from the University of Münster. He is interested in research on stereotypes, prejudice, and intergroup conflict. His research looked at how biased news reporting (e.g., overrepresentation of crimes committed by foreigners) differentially affects explicit and implicit stereotypes. He now works on crowd cognition at the University of Sussex.


Helena de Boer' MSc 2018


Helena de Boer was a visiting dissertation student (she graduated cum laude). At Cambridge, her research focused on perceptions of in-and out-group climate change ambassadors to help motivate people to adopt sustainable lifestyles. Before her MSc in Social Psychology at the VU University in Amsterdam, she completed an MA in Environment, Politics, and Globalisation at King's College London and a BA in Social Sciences from Amsterdam University College. She now works at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.


Undergraduate Alumni

Katie Woods '18 (PBS dissertation)

Robyn Bailey '18 (PBS dissertation)

Rhian Armstrong '18 (PBS dissertation)

Nikol Illasova '18 (PBS dissertation)

Holly Young '17 (BBS dissertation)

Gloria Lau '17 (BBS dissertation)

Simon Bill '17 (BBS dissertation)