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We are an interdisciplinary research lab interested in the psychological determinants and consequences of hierarchy, networks, and technology. We read about, discuss, and conduct research on a wide range of topics, including power and status, judgment and decision making, cultural transmission, morality, network formation, behavior tracking, and algorithms.

Lab Director


Nathanael Fast is an Associate Professor of Management and Organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Stanford University.

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Jonathan Gratch is Director for Virtual Human Research at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies, a Research Full Professor of Computer Science and Psychology at USC and Director of USC’s Computational Emotion Group. He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois in Urban-Champaign in 1995. Dr. Gratch’s research focuses on computational models of human cognitive and social processes, especially emotion, and explores these models’ role in shaping human-computer interactions in virtual environments. In particular, he studies the relationship between cognition and emotion, the cognitive processes underlying emotional responses, and the influence of emotion on decision making and physical behavior.


Gale Lucas is a research assistant professor at the University of Southern California in the Viterbi School of Engineering and works at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). She obtained her BA from Willamette University in 2005 and her PhD from Northwestern University in 2010. After teaching for a couple of years at small liberal arts colleges, she went back for a post-doc. She completed her post-doc with Dr. Jon Gratch at ICT, and then stayed on at ICT as a senior research associate. She works in the areas of human-computer interaction, affective computing, and trust-in-automation. Her research focuses on rapport, disclosure, trust, persuasion, and negotiation with virtual agents and social robots.

Lab Manager


Liz Quinn received her B.S. in Psychology from Northwestern University in 2018. She currently works as a Research Coordinator at the USC Marshall School of Business. Liz is interested in understanding how implicit and explicit biases, stereotypes, and inter-group conflict effect decision-making and inter-group interactions in various contexts (i.e. policy-making, organizations, the legal arena, etc.). In her free time, Liz enjoys going on adventures with her partner, Charlie, and obsessing over her black lab, Maguire.

Post-Doctoral Scholar

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Arthur Jago is a postdoctoral research associate in the Management and Organization department at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in Business Administration (Organizational Behavior) from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Arthur primarily researches automation in organizations, with a particular focus on how organizations can use technology to manage interactions with different stakeholders. In his research, he investigates how people respond to automated business domains and digital technologies, as well as how organizations can capitalize on technological advances to both manage employees and signal values.

Graduate Students

Oliver Fisher is in the social psychology Ph.D. program at USC Dornsife College. He received his B.A. in psychology and comparative religion from The Ohio State University. His research interests broadly focus on identity and motivation. More specifically he studies the role of identity in how one responds to difficulty, influencing the self-concept, and impacting behavior.


Merrick Osborne is a Ph.D. student in the department of Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business. He received his B.A. in psychology, and earned minors in Business Administration and Spanish for the Professions from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before he came to USC, he served as a research assistant at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Currently, Merrick is studying the impact of empowering lower power employees in power hierarchies. Additionally, he is interested in using computational methods to analyze text-based data.

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Grace Yuehan Wang is a third-year doctoral student in Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. She received her BA in journalism in China (joint program with UCLA), and her MS in public relations & new media technology at Boston University. She is interested in the urban entrepreneurship economy in the networked society from a global lens. She engages her work in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and diffusion of innovations from organizational communication, business management and policy perspectives. Her current work focuses on cultural & creative startups in China and the U.S., with the goal of understanding the role of startup incubators and the strategic development of startups with the use of technology.


David Newman is a Ph.D.  in Management and Organization. He earned his B.A. in psychology from Yale University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. His research interests include moral foundations theory, business ethics, the morality of technology, the pursuit of meaning, and the psychology of property and ownership.


Medha Raj received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 2013, where she majored in economics and minored in psychology. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Management and Organization department at the USC Marshall School of Business. She is interested in understanding the drivers and consequences of interpersonal relationships in organizations. In her current research, she examines the role of forgiveness, guilt, power, and networking in changing relationship behaviors both in interpersonal and professional relationships.


Mindy Truong received her B.S. in Psychology at the University of California, San Diego in 2014. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Management and Organization department at the USC Marshall School of Business where she previously worked as the research coordinator/lab manager for two years. She is interested in how people's backgrounds affect the way they think, feel, and behave. More specifically, she is interested in how people's social class backgrounds and ideological beliefs influence their organizational outcomes.

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Evgeniia Iakhnis is a doctoral student in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. Her primary research focuses on political psychology, public opinion, and social media. She uses experimental design, surveys, and computational methods to study intergroup relations and their attitudinal and behavioral consequences.

Mohammad Atari is a Ph.D. student in social psychology. He uses experimental, psychometric, and computational methods to study personality and morality. He takes an evolutionary perspective to examine cross-cultural differences and similarities in human behavior and its portrayal in social media. His current research interests are evolution of morality, morally motivated aggression, cultural differences in moral systems, and theory-driven text analysis. 

Research Assistants


Jake Orthwein is majoring in Cognitive Science after having completed degrees in Film Production and Critical Studies. His primary interests are in moral psychology, AI, and the psychology of technology. He is also a research assistant in the Computational Social Science Lab. He hopes to pursue cognitive science at the graduate level to study the psychological and ethical impacts of technology. Beyond the lab, Jake enjoys writing, filmmaking, and mindfulness meditation.

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Hridee Patel is a sophomore at USC majoring in Computer Science/Business Administration. Coming from India, she has been exposed to a wide array of cultures throughout her life. This makes her want to learn more about the different behaviors of different people. She also has a strong interest in machines and technology. Working at the lab she hopes to learn more about the cross section of humans and machines in AI. She wants to get a better understanding as to how to make computers think like humans and how humans react to these changes in technology. She loves to travel and meet new people.


Dayna Clayton is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. Her research interest includes the social and cultural aspects of behavior. More specifically, implicit social cognition (such as implicit bias, stereotypes, and self-concepts such as identity) related to race, ethnicity, and gender. As well as political apathy and the cross-cultural understanding and approaches to mental health. In the future, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology and later conduct her own research. Apart from academics, she enjoys watching movies, biking on the beach, reading, and interacting with new people and environments.



Ali Karandish is a junior at USC studying Psychology. His primary research interests revolve around the overprescription of amphetamines, relationships between caregivers and patients, ADHD, Autism, mental ability and intelligence. Following his undergraduate career he hopes to pursue a degree in medicine and to continue his interests in research. 

Lab Alumni

  • Brittany Torrez (former lab manager), PhD student at Yale School of Management

  • Roshni Raveendhran (former doctoral student), Assistant Professor at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business

  • Joseph Gaebler (former research assistant), Equity Research Analyst at Goldman Sachs

  • Murali Joshi (former research assistant), Technology Investor at ICONIQ Capital - Technology & Venture Capital

  • Janine Kim (former research assistant), Research Associate at LRW Tonic

  • Yeri Cho (former doctoral student), Assistant Professor, Management, University of La Verne

  • Priyanka Joshi (former doctoral student), Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University, School of Business

  • Kiansiong Tey (former research assistant), PhD student at INSEAD

  • Jade Ponciano (former research assistant), MA Candidate at Georgetown University