Examining the strategic interaction between governments, terrorists & the populations they target
Unpacking the psychological foundations and consequences of violence & conflict
Investigating the role of leaders & bureaucracies in shaping security policy
Studying the strategic dynamics of Israeli-Palestinian violence and its effects on political attitudes & public health
My research and teaching lie at the intersection of international relations, conflict, and behavioral approaches to politics. I specialize in the psychological causes and consequences of political violence for the mass public, elite decision-making in foreign policy, and strategic adaptation in asymmetric conflict contexts.
In my research, I bridge rational and behavioral approaches to examine the micro-foundations of political conflict, identifying the systematic ways in which psychological processes impact cycles of war and political violence. Though I explore broad cross-national trends, I also have a regional expertise in the Middle East and Israel-Palestine.
My work is published or forthcoming at a number of journals, including the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Global Security Studies, Political Psychology, Public Opinion Quarterly, and European Psychologist. My book, The Polythink Syndrome (with Alex Mintz), was awarded the 2016 Alexander George Book Award by the International Society of Political Psychology for best book in the field of political psychology. I am currently completing a second book project, Beyond Rationality: Behavioral Political Science in the 21st Century (with Alex Mintz & Nicholas Valentino), in press at Cambridge University Press. This book aims to provide a unifying framework of behavioral approaches to political science and is designed as an introductory text for graduate students and other scholars interested in integrating behavioral approaches with rational choice models of politics.
In some of my current work based on my dissertation, "Risk or Retribution: The Micro-foundations of State Responses to Terror," which received the Peace Science Society's Walter Isard Best Dissertation Award, I examine how public perceptions of threat and desire for retribution shape and constrain policy-makers’ responses to terrorist violence. I show that the moral outrage of citizens to terrorism drives both militant group tactics and state counterterror policies. By constraining democratically elected leaders' policy options and encouraging them to strongly retaliate, public outrage can indirectly fuel an increasing reliance by militant groups on terrorism, as counterterror efforts limit their ability to execute more difficult guerrilla tactics.
University of Michigan
2013 - 2019
PhD in Political Science (2019)
MA in Political Science (2015)
Major: International Relations
Minors: Political Psychology &
2009 - 2010
Masters of Government
Magna Cum Laude
Diplomacy & Conflict Studies
University of Michigan
2005 - 2009
Bachelor of Arts
Majors: Political Science & History