HiNT lab.jpg

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, meaning, network formation, and leadership behavior.

Principal Investigator


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.

Read more →

Co-Principal Investigator


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.

Lab Manager


Brittany Torrez received her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University in 2016. She currently works as a research coordinator at the USC Marshall School of Business. She is interested in how our identities shape the way we perceive others, understand our own behavior, and move throughout the world. More specifically, she's interested in the psychological factors that influence success and status mobility for first-generation college students in university settings and beyond. She plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Social Psychology or Organizational Behavior.

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.


Jennifer Kim is a Ph.D. student in the Management and Organization Department at USC Marshall. She received her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in social psychology from Seoul National University. She is interested in how individuals negotiate and preserve meaning in their lives, as well as the interpersonal dynamics that play out in such processes. She is also interested in threat-responses, morality, and the value of the human life.

Grace Yuehan Wang profile 2016.jpg

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.

Roshni Headshot.jpg

Roshni Raveendhran is a Ph.D. candidate in Management and Organization in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on understanding the future of work. In particular, she examines how technological advancements influence organizational actors, workplace practices and the management of employees. In doing so, she develops insights about how organizations can effectively integrate novel technologies into the workplace to manage their employees. She also explores how organizations can increase the effectiveness of their human resource management practices to address the changing nature of work. She examines these issues using a variety of empirical methods across a number of different domains.


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.

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.


Brian Hyun is a junior studying cognitive science. He is interested in the way humans interact with computer interfaces, and the influence of visual elements on the overall experience of users. He is planning on pursuing a masters degree in human-computer interaction, and later becoming a UI/UX Designer. Apart from his academic endeavors, he enjoys taking photos, backpacking, and cycling. 

Hridee Patel_Headshot.png

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.

Qingyao Chen photo.jpg

Qingyao Chen is a junior at USC majoring in Business Administration. She is primarily interested in power and status, judgment and decision making, as well as cognitive psychology since these topics help her understand the different social hierarchies and individual’s patterns of behaviors. After finishing undergraduate, she is planning to pursue master of science in finance at graduate level and later work in the corporate finance field. Besides academia, Qingyao enjoys surfing, spending an afternoon at Manhattan Beach and learning new things from different people through various forms of interactions.

Taylor Carmona transferred into USC in the Fall of 17’ as a second semester sophomore. He obtained an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences with Emphasis in Social and Behavioral Sciences prior to transferring. His major field of study is Psychology, and is minoring in Applied Computer Security from the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Technology Program. Taylor anticipates a career as a Psychologist who specializes in recovery from psychological traumas, cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal relationships, and research objectives to contain, prevent, accurately and effortlessly diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure Antisocial Personality Disorder. Outside academia, Taylor ardently enjoys baseball, wrestling snowboarding, music festivals, reading, acting, and adventures with loved ones and friends


Former Research Assistants

  • Ishan Abraham
  • Ricardo Galvez
  • Joseph Gaebler
  • Erika Sydney Hilton
  • Murali Joshi
  • Janine Kim
  • Sarah Nuslein
  • Kiansiong (KS) Tey
  • Sara Wiltberger
  • Jean Zhang
  • Felicity Zhang
  • Alexandra Ting
  • Clarice Szeto
  • Flora Shamayan
  • Jade Ponciano
  • Emma Ohanian
  • Al-Baab Khan
  • Cole Jones
  • Rebekah Ent