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David Rand

Associate Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences

David Rand is the Erwin H. Schell Professor and an Associate Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, an affiliate of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, and the director of the Human Cooperation Laboratory and the Applied Cooperation Team.

Bridging the fields of cognitive science, behavioral economics, and social psychology, David’s research combines behavioral experiments run online and in the field with mathematical and computational models to understand people’s attitudes, beliefs, and choices. His work uses a cognitive science perspective grounded in the tension between more intuitive versus deliberative modes of decision-making. He focuses on illuminating why people believe and share misinformation and “fake news,” understanding political psychology and polarization, and promoting human cooperation.

David received his B.A. in Computational Biology from Cornell University in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Systems Biology from Harvard University in 2009, was a post-doctoral researcher in Harvard University’s Department of Psychology from 2009 to 2013, and was an Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) of Psychology, Economics, and Management at Yale University prior to joining the faculty at MIT. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the American Economic Review, Psychological Science, Management Science, and the American Journal of Political Science, and has received widespread attention from print, radio, TV and social media outlets. He has also written popular press articles for outlets including the New York Times, Wired, New Scientist, and the Psychological Observer.

David was named to Wired magazine’s Smart List 2012 of “50 people who will change the world,” chosen as a 2012 Pop!Tech Science Fellow, received the 2015 Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Research, was selected as fact-checking researcher of the year in 2017 by the Poyner Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, and received the 2020 FABBS Early Career Impact Award from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. Papers he has coauthored have been awarded Best Paper of the Year in Experimental Economics, Social Cognition, and Political Methodology.