Jennifer Susan Lerner
Professor of Public Policy and Management (Harvard Kennedy School)
Research Interests: judgment and decision making, emotion, applications of psychology to public policy.
Professor Lerner taught at Carnegie Mellon from 1999-2007 where she was an assistant professor and then the Estella Loomis McCandless Associate Professor of Social and Decision Science. Since 2007, she has been Professor of Decision Science and Public Policy at The Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University. Among other honors, Lerner received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers in early stages of their careers. She has also received the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Award and the National Science Foundation’s "Sensational 60” designation. (The 60 members in this latter group are designated as the most prominent senior American scientists who ever received a graduate school fellowship from the NSF.) Lerner was also elected as a Fellow of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology and of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
Working at the intersection of psychology, economics, and neuroscience, Professor Lerner studies judgment and decision processes. Together with colleagues, she has developed a theoretical framework that successfully predicts the effects of specific emotions on specific judgment and choice outcomes. Lerner also pursues two related programs of research, examining (a) mechanisms through which accountability and other authority systems shape judgment and choice outcomes; and (b) causes and consequences of stress. Across all areas, her work aims to expand the evidentiary base for designing policies that maximize human wellbeing.
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