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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 tenured 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 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 Jon Roozenbeek


Jon Roozenbeek is a researcher at the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab in the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on inoculation theory. Aside from this, he works on media theory, content analytics, social media, the dynamics of online debate, and development of the mass media landscape in Eastern Ukraine. He co-developed the award-winning Fake News Game, Bad News, and coordinates the testing of this game online and at schools and universities. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Fatih Uenal

Fatih Uenal is a visiting postdoc from Berlin. He received his PhD in social sciences from Humboldt University Berlin. His research is situated at the intersection of evolutionary, political, and social psychological theories. Prior to Cambridge, he has worked at the Sidanius lab at Harvard University on social dominance, prejudice, climate change and prosociality. At Cambridge, he studies dominance motives in intergroup, environmental, and interspecies prosociality. His work utilises questionnaires and surveys, lab-, and priming-experiments.


Graduate Students

Melisa Basol PhD Candidate


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.

 Read more about Melisa's research in this interview.


Karly Drabot PhD Candidate (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.


Rakoen Maertens PhD Student and Lab Manager


Rakoen is a PhD student in Psychology funded by the ESRC and Cambridge Trust. He graduated with an MSc (summa cum laude) and BSc in Experimental Psychology from Ghent University. Rakoen is a scientist with an international outlook and his ambition is to bring Psychological Science to the world of Global Issues. 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.


Cecilie Olesen PhD Student


Cecilie Olesen is a PhD student in Psychology funded by the ESRC and Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship. She completed her MPhil in Psychology at the University of Cambridge, received a 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.


Ondřej Kácha MPhil '2019

Ondřej holds an MA in Psychology from the Masaryk University, Czech Republic. His work is focused on examining how various psychosocial factors, such as psychological distance and social norms, affect the development of pro-environmental beliefs and personal (moral) norms. Prior to coming to Cambridge, Ondřej worked as a behavioural scientist for a Czech innovation consultancy and was part of Junior Research Programme and Cambridge Policy Research Group.


Anandita Sabherwal (Ana) MPhil '2019

Anandita (Ana) is an MPhil student supported by the Cambridge Trust. Originally from India, Ana graduated with a BA in Psychology (magna cum laude) from Yale-NUS College, Singapore. She is interested in exploring how socio-political factors such as public consensus, political polarisation, and media reports impact climate change mitigating collective action. She is especially passionate about investigating these phenomena in populations that are traditionally underrepresented in social psychology research.


Kayla Pincus MPhil '2020

Kayla Pincus received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College studying how social issues are marketed. Her research at Cambridge focuses on using storytelling to decrease pro-death penalty attitudes and social dominance orientation. She wishes to apply the insights gained from her research to a range of additional identity conflicts in order to systematically decrease out-grouping. Previously, Kayla was a mitigation investigator for the Federal Public Defender of the Eastern District of Arkansas where she researched the backgrounds of her clients in an attempt to get them off of death row.


Postdoctoral Research Affiliates

Dr. Anne Marthe van der Bles


Anne Marthe van der Bles received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Groningen in 2017. She was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Cambridge Social Decision-Making lab and Winton Centre for Risk Communication (2018-2019). 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:


Dr. John Kerr

John is a postdoctoral Research Associate at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication and the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He received his PhD in psychology from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and holds a BSc(Hons) in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication, both from the University of Otago. His research interests include beliefs about debated scientific issues and the communication of scientific information to the public. He also has a keen interest in the role of science in policy-making and was a member of the inaugural Science Policy Exchange in New Zealand.


Visiting Scholars

Christel van Eck

Christel van Eck is a visiting PhD Candidate from the Strategic Communication Group at Wageningen University & Research, funded by the Dutch Research Council’s Research Talent Scholarship. Her PhD research focuses on polarisation in the climate change blogosphere. More broadly, she is interested in climate change communication, climate psychology, processes of polarisation, and new media. At Cambridge, Christel will research blog audiences’ climate change risk perceptions. 


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

Kayleigh Dawson, MPhil '2019


Kayleigh Dawson completed her MPhil in Psychology from the University of Cambridge where she also received a first-class degree in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) from Jesus College. Kayleigh's dissertation explored the wisdom of the crowd in social norms and how norms help to guide and facilitate people towards online behaviours.


Danielle Goldwert (2019)

Danielle is a BA student at the University of Miami double majoring in Psychology and Studio Art with minors in Ecosystem Science & Policy, Philosophy, English Literature, and Management. As a visiting research student at Cambridge and with support from the UM Academic Enhancement Research Fellowship, Danielle will explore risk perception and decision-making in relation to climate change.


Elif Çoker (2019)


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, 'MSc 2019


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.



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.


Amos Fong, 'PBS 2017


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.


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.


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. He has previously worked at Harvard and is now based at the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Dr. Cameron Brick


Cameron is an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. Prior to this position, he was 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 using lab, survey, and field studies.


Undergraduate Alumni

Nolwenn Lecompte '19 (PBS dissertation)

Eleanor Ansell '19 (PBS dissertation)

Hannah Martin '19 (PBS dissertation)

Carly Enright ' 19 (PBS dissertation)

Sofia Clini '19 (PBS dissertation)

Jyothsna Prakash '19 (PBS dissertation)

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)