Postdoctoral Research Fellow

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I am a cognitive scientist using experimental methods and inferential statistics to understand how people make decisions. I'm most interested in studying how perceptions of effort can lead the same experience to feel either aversive or valuable.

Interests: effort, decision making, statistics, forecasting infectious disease.

Learn about what I do

I study perceptions of both effort and health.

What is Effort?

Have you ever had to spend energy on something difficult, like preparing a presentation for work? What about something fun, like having an engaging conversation with friends?

Both of these tasks require mental effort, but one we would do anything to avoid while the other we actively seek out. Whether a task feels effortful depends on more than just the activity of the task itself, it depends on our relationship to the task. I'm interested in how our perceptions can make a task feel effortful, and how we might shift our perceptions to help work feel less effortful and more engaging.

Communities and Infectious Disease

During this COVID-19 pandemic, did you notice whether people in your community were complying with CDC regulations? Did you notice whether people changed these behaviors over time?

Public health officials typically rely on computational models to forecast the spread of infectious disease. But people know a lot about their communities, and combining predictions from many people is a powerful and accurate way to predict the future . I'm interested in looking at how we might improve forecasts of infectious disease by utilizing this powerful and largely untapped resource: the collective knowledge of a community's people.

Here are some of my projects.

Crowdsourced Judgments and Infectious Disease

We asked people questions about their community's compliance with CDC regulations and found that their answers predicted COVID-19 cases up to four weeks in the future.

Nano Human Interface Initiative

How can the interface of scientific instruments be optimized to make analysis easier for the scientist? We ran a study revealing that switching to a new interface causes more performance costs for experts relative to novice or intermediate users.

The Cost of Effort

We ran a study introducing a novel paradigm to quantify the cost of effort in investigating the question 'How do people negotiate reward and effort costs when choosing how to allocate effort?'.

The Effort Economy

Does a medium-difficulty task become easier when you're expecting to do something really hard? Three studies looked at the influence of expectations on how much effort people are willing to invest in a task.

Eye Movements and Creativity

Rapidly moving one's eyes back and forth increases creativity, perhaps because of increased inter hemispheric interaction in the brain.

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