Meet our Lab

Dr. Sara Constantino, Principal Investigator

Sara Constantino is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. She works broadly on social and environmental policy and decision-making. Her research focuses on understanding the interplay between individual, institutional and ecological factors on perceptions, policy preferences and resilience to extreme events or shocks. In particular, recent studies look at the role of polarization, social norms and governance in stimulating or stifling support for climate action. She also works on the impacts and politics of basic income programs. Prior to starting at Northeastern, she was an associate research scholar at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and a lecturer at the High Meadows Environmental Institute. Before this, she was senior research fellow in guaranteed income with the Jain Family Institute and a founding editor at Nature Human Behavior. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from McGill University, a master’s degree in economics from University College London, and a Ph.D. in cognitive sciences, with a focus on learning and decision-making in dynamic environments, from New York University.

@smconstantino on Twitter

Sara M. Constantino on Google Scholar

Clara Riggio, Lab Manager

Clara is excited to begin her first year as a Lab Manager and Technician at Northeastern University. She recently completed her undergraduate education with an emphasis in psychology at The Evergreen State College. Clara’s previous research investigated the impact of concepts like Social Dominance Orientation, Right-Wing Authoritarianism, American Exceptionalism, and the ways we define genocide. She is also interested in moral psychology, collective emotions, and the modern-day legacy of settler-colonialism. Clara is especially interested in utilizing a mixed-methods approach and engaging in conversation to better understand the numerous perspectives of the people around her. When she’s not in the lab, you can find her reading, baking, or re-watching her favorite movies.

Dr. Junho Lee, Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a postdoc interested in social cognition, causal reasoning, and moral judgments and decisions in real-world contexts. My studies are often motivated by the need to tackle urgent issues in today’s world (e.g., climate change denialism, political belief polarization, inequality) based on theories of cognitive and social psychology.

I am interested in using a combination of techniques and methods, ranging from behavioral studies to computational modeling and natural language processing.

Ph.D. in Computational Cognition – University of California, Los Angeles

M.A. and B.a. in Psychology – Seoul National University

Dr. Jennifer Cole, Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Jennifer Cole is a social psychologist who studies political polarization and social norms related to modern challenges such as climate change. She conducts both theoretical research to advance the scientific understanding of these processes, and designs and tests depolarization interventions. Prior to joining the SSC lab, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Vanderbilt University Climate Change Research Network. She earned a PhD in social psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder, a Masters of Environmental Management at Duke University, and a bachelors degree in psychology and sustainability from Rice University. Outside of the lab, Jenny enjoys trail running, reading and cooking vegan food.

Jennifer C. Cole on Google Scholar

@DrJennyCole on Twitter

Jane Acierno, Graduate Student

Jane is interested in moral cognition and decision-making, with a focus on real-world issues such as reducing political polarization and promoting pro-environmental behavior and policy. Her past work includes examining vicarious moral licensing within political ingroups, relating default representations of possibility and morality, and studying how we form moral character inferences. In the lab, Jane is researching the diffusion of moral-emotion language on social media and depolarization interventions. She enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking Italian food in her free time.

Griffin Colaizzi, Graduate Student

Griffin graduated from Williams College in 2018. At Williams, he completed an honors thesis investigating how citizens morally reason about criminal justice system outcomes. Griffin then served as the lab manager for the Georgetown Lab for Relational Cognition. In this position Griffin gained experience conducting fMRI experiments, collecting tDCS/tACS data, and leading several creativity studies. Griffin has also worked as a research associate in Dr. Nick Camp’s lab at the University of Michigan. Griffin’s current research interests include moral reasoning and decision-making, empathy, and pluralistic ignorance. Griffin is interested in the role of empathy in moral reasoning and the cognitive underpinnings of moral reasoning in complex and ambiguous contexts. Outside of the lab Griffin enjoys running, biking, watching football, and skiing.

Ximena De La Mora Bakjejian, Research Assistant

Ximena is a recent graduate in Economics and Philosophy from Northeastern University, now pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy. She has delved into moral perspectives on global poverty, the economic implications of physical climate change risks, socio-economic correlations in the social welfare sphere, and genocide studies, specifically the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Ximena is captivated by the neurobiological roots of social behavior, the interplay of ethics and behavior, behavioral linguistics, and climate justice. Beyond academia, she finds joy in learning languages, interior design, dog training, and crafting poetry.

Ziqi (Lydia) Liu, Research Assistant

Ziqi Liu graduated from Moscow State University in 2022, where she developed a deep passion for political communication. Ziqi is interested in analyzing civic engagement, selective exposure, and the effects of soft propaganda on social media in authoritarian contexts. She is learning how to employs mixed methods – experimental survey and text analysis – to evaluate how users’ cognition and behaviors are shaped as a result. In her free time, Ziqi enjoys watching movies, cooking, and reading.

Jasper Olson, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jasper is a third-year undergraduate student studying psychology and ethics at Northeastern University. They’re interested in fostering individual and community relationships with the environment, understanding the way that we navigate our interactions with environmental issues, and decision-making throughout development. He’s passionate about interdisciplinary approaches to remediating the climate crisis, and is excited to be working at the lab! In his free time, he enjoys music, hiking, reading, and cooking.

Jeffrey Pan, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jeffrey Pan is an undergraduate third-year Data and Environmental and Sustainability Sciences student. He is passionate about anything data related and loves the intersection of environmental science and data analytics. He is especially interested in using data to model sustainability trends. Working closely with Dr. Sara Constantino, Jeff is focusing on the analysis of worker union speeches and tweets and their emotions towards climate change and a shift to renewable energy sources. In his free time, Jeff loves to read, cook for friends, and simply enjoy the little things in life.

Julia Christiano, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julia is a third-year undergraduate student studying psychology with a minor in criminal justice. She is interested in the interdisciplinary applications of psychology and data analysis to broader social contexts. Particularly, she is passionate about the ways in which psychological processes underly societal issues such as climate change, the justice system, the healthcare system, and politics. In her free time, Julia enjoys drawing, reading, baking, and hiking.

Lab Affiliates

Jordana Composto, Graduate Student

Jordana is Psychology and Social Policy Ph.D. student at Princeton University. Her research interests include pro-social decision-making, social norms, and employees as agents for change in organizations. Jordana uses mixed methods, including experimental survey design and natural language processing text analysis. She is advised by Professor Elke Weber. 

Jordana received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2016, double majoring in Quantitative Social Science and Environmental Studies.

Recent publication:


Joan Kim, Graduate Student

Joan is a graduate student at Northeastern in the Conceptual Organization, Reasoning, and Education Lab whose interests also align with the Sustainability and Social Change Lab. She has had an untraditional start to her Ph.D. career, having joined the program after 3 years at a cardiovascular imaging research lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Martinos Center. Her current research projects involve delving into people’s perceptions of the bidirectional human and nature impact, and how intuitive ways of thinking influence these perceptions. Other research interests include cultural influences on attitudes/behavior and developing bipartisan and cross-cultural interventions for climate change mitigation. In her free time, Joan enjoys reading, dancing, and baking.

Ria Mukerji, Graduate Student

Ria Mukerji is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of geography at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She received her bachelor’s in environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her masters in geography from the department of geography and anthropology at Louisiana State University (LSU) (Geaux Tigers!). 

Her work focuses on the political ecology of hazards. At LSU she focused on the paradoxes between safe vs. economic development when it comes to floodplain management, focusing on the devastating floods of 2016 in Louisiana. At UNM her work center on hazard and risk perceptions to hazards and community engagement. She is also interested in the intersection of risk and hazard perception and indigeneity.

Jess Nemeth, Undergraduate Student

Jess Nemeth is an undergraduate fourth-year chemical engineering student at Northeastern University. Through co-ops in the cleantech space in Boston, as well as through fuel cell and environmental justice undergraduate research, Jess is leveraging her interdisciplinary engineering knowledge to tackle climate-change-induced societal issues. Under the mentorship of Sara Constantino and Holly Caggiano, Jess is analyzing the sociodemographic and psychological predictors of preferences in electric utility ownership structures. She can be reached at

Lab Alumni

Beckett Sanderson, RA

Lucia Barrera, RA

Lucia is a second-year Environmental & Sustainability Sciences and Economics student with a minor in Data Science. She is interested in combining ecological and economic modeling systems to explore sustainable finance, network dynamics, and environmental conservation. In the lab, Lucia is investigating factors that affect climate change perception and sentiment towards climate policies and responses. Outside of the lab, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and learning the guitar.

Sustainability & Social Change Lab • Northeastern University

125 Nightingale Hall • 360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115