I’m an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at Duke Kunshan University.
My ongoing research agenda focuses on democratic challenges and innovations. I study whether citizen assemblies can help inform and influence the wider electorate; the causes and effects of emotions in politics; the relationship between democratic participation and civic volunteering; ideological formation and issue polarization; and the characteristics of populism. I use various methods and data in my research, both quantitative and qualitative.
Broader topics of interest include motivated reasoning, inter-group conflict, emotions, social identity, public opinion formation, deliberation, alienation, and social cohesion.
I mostly teach courses on general social theory and how individual behavior is constrained and enabled by social norms, institutions, and identities. In these courses I train students to critique and evaluate current research. To understand the weaknesses and reliability of studies I help students think through the relationship between theory, evidence, and methods.
I hail from a rock in the middle of the North Atlantic called Iceland. In previous lives I was a team leader at government agency, radio producer and presenter, founder of a non-partisan think-tank, in addition to working with kids and grown-ups with disabilities or drug problems.