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. 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. For example, my current projects explore the role of emotions in political conflict, strategies of terrorist radicalization and recruitment, the long-term effects of exposure to political violence, patterns of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian context, and the role of group processes in foreign policy decision-making.
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. My second book, Beyond Rationality: Behavioral Political Science in the 21st Century (with Alex Mintz & Nicholas Valentino), is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press in December, 2021. 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