Research

Work in the Human Nature Lab lies at the intersection of the natural, social, and computational sciences. We develop and apply novel insights about the aspects of human nature that relate to our interactions with others. Our concern is not so much with how humans think or behave while alone, but rather with how they think and feel about, and act towards, others.

Our research typically involves new datasets, new methods, and new ideas. A major focus of our work has been to create and expand a fundamental understanding of how human social networks affect behavior and health, and to explore how networks are biologically and genetically encoded. New directions for the lab include investigations of the pro-social functions of networks, experimental work manipulating network connection and contagion, explorations of social networks in the developing world, and genetic studies of social network features.

Our work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and our lab group meetings involve students at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, medical, and post-doctoral); faculty from numerous disciplines (medicine, sociology, economics, political science, physical, anthropology, evolutionary biology, health policy, statistics); and staff with diverse expertise (data management, information technology, statistical analysis).

Past efforts in other areas (e.g., prognostication, end-of-life care) that are no longer an active part of our agenda are reflected in our publication list.