Political psychologist & behavioral economist
I am best known for research I first started presenting two decades ago that predicted the rise of 'Far Right' candidates and politics under exactly the kinds of conditions we now confront. (Go here for a review). But my research goes much further than that, being a general account of the conditions under which a large proportion (around a third) of humanity, who harbor (relatively immutable) predispositions to favor 'oneness and sameness' over freedom and diversity, come to find their societies and polities intolerable, and push back with a vengeance. In essence, it is about the limits to liberal democracy. But it is written with a desire to save liberal democracy (from itself).
As I noted back in 2005: "Democracy is most secure, and tolerance is maximized, when we design systems to accommodate how people actually are. Because some people will never live comfortably in a modern liberal democracy" (The Authoritarian Dynamic, p. 335).
My research on authoritarianism and 'Far Right' politics uses psychological theories and methods (in particular, Randomized Controlled Trials) to explain human behavior. These days, I also use those same theories and methods (particularly RCTs) to shift human behavior... via more effective communications and campaigns (of every kind), including designing and embedding messages that de-activate authoritarianism and diminish expressions of intolerance and racism in a society.
I'm a behavioral economist with a PhD in Political Psychology. Formerly an academic (Princeton, Duke), I left academia with a strong desire to apply my unique combination of talents and skills to the resolution of pressing, real-world problems, and this is what motivates all of the enterprises described here.
A selection of my research publications on authoritarianism, conservatism and politics:
Recent media articles that cover my political research.