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.

saraconstantino.com

@smconstantino on Twitter

Sara M. Constantino on Google Scholar

Click here to read about Sara’s past/current work!

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.

Click here to read about Clara’s past/current work!

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

https://junholee08.github.io/main

Click here to read about Junho’s past/current work!

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.

janeacierno.com

Click here to read about Jane’s past/current work!

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 recently published one of these studies, displaying how creative abilities and creative attitudes predict success in computer science courses. Griffin has also worked as a research associate in Dr. Nick Camp’s lab at the University of Michigan. In this position, Griffin led a study utilizing the reverse correlation paradigm to investigate how racial stereotypes about the environment and policing influence visual representations and perceptions. 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. He is also interested in understanding how moral reasoning changes with the societal and political moralization of issues such as abortion or systemic racism. Outside of the lab Griffin enjoys running, biking, watching football, and skiing.

Click here to read about Griffin’s past/current work!

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: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac71b8

Website: jordanacomposto.com

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.

rmukerji@unm.edu

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 nemeth.j@northeastern.edu

Sustainability & Social Change Lab • Northeastern University

125 Nightingale Hall • 360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115