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APPC Welcomes 19 Distinguished Research Fellows

Over the past year, the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) has welcomed 19 new distinguished research fellows to its ranks, bringing the group to a total of 58 eminent scholars whose work complements the research and engagement being conducted by the policy center.

This latest group of distinguished research fellows is largely based within the Penn community and exemplifies the cross-campus outreach and collaborative spirit that have been hallmarks of the policy center’s nearly three decades of research. Under the guidance of director and founder Kathleen Hall Jamieson; Dan Romer, the center’s research director; and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Dolores Albarracín, who directs APPC’s science of science communication division, the center’s scholars address communication’s role in advancing public understanding of political, science, and health issues at local, state, and national levels.

The newest group of APPC distinguished research fellows are:

Coren Apicella, an associate professor of psychology and director of the Human Behavior and Origins Laboratory in the School of Arts & Sciences at Penn, conducts research investigating how biology and culture work jointly, and separately, to shape individual and social behavior, from mate choice to cooperation to competition. In addition to more conventional laboratory studies, a significant portion of her time is devoted to fieldwork with the Hadza, a population of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania.

Jonathan Baron is a retired professor of psychology at Penn, founding editor of the journal Judgment and Decision Making, and the author of the textbook “Thinking and Deciding.” His current research examines citizens’ thinking about public issues, with a view to understanding the failures of democracy in terms of the cognitive style of citizens and their moral judgment.

José A. Bauermeister is the Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health in Penn’s School of Nursing. His research integrates perspectives from public health, social science, medicine, and human sexuality to create interdisciplinary strategies to curtail health disparities among sexual and gender minority adolescents and young adults.

Ezekiel Emanuel is the vice provost for global initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and co-director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at Penn. He has published over 300 articles, mainly on health care reform, research ethics, and end-of-life care, and has authored or edited 15 books. He was a special advisor on health policy to the director of the Office of Management and Budget and National Economic Council from 2009 to 2011.

Martha J. Farah is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences in the Department of Psychology at Penn, founding director of Penn’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and current director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society. Her research in cognitive neuroscience has ranged from vision at the back of the brain to executive function at the front. She now focuses on the intersection of neuroscience and “the real world.”

Robert Gross is a professor of medicine (infectious diseases) and epidemiology, co-director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), director of the Penn CFAR International Core in Botswana, and co-director of the Clinical Assessment Core of the Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center. His research has focused on HIV outcomes, with a particular emphasis on the continuum of care and prevention in the developed and developing worlds in both adults and adolescents.

John H. Holmes is a professor of medical informatics in epidemiology, the associate director of the Institute for Biomedical Informatics, director of the master’s program in Biomedical Informatics, and former chair of the Doctoral Program in Epidemiology, all at Penn. He leads studies of novel analytic methods informed by statistics and artificial intelligence as they apply to interactions between people and environments in space and time.

Sara Jaffee, a professor of psychology in the School of Arts & Sciences at Penn, is a developmental psychopathologist who conducts research on at-risk families and children. She is interested in how stressful environments exacerbate underlying genetic vulnerabilities to affect children’s development, with a special interest in children’s antisocial behavior. She directs the Risk and Resilience Lab, which studies the interplay between biology and social context in children’s development.

Kevin B. Johnson is the David L. Cohen Professor of Pediatrics, Informatics, Engineering and Communication at Penn. A PIK professor, he holds appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, with secondary appointments including the Annenberg School for Communication. His research has been related to developing and encouraging the adoption of clinical information systems to improve patient safety and compliance with practice guidelines.

Joseph Kable is the Baird Term Professor of Psychology at Penn and Director of MindCORE, Penn’s hub for the integrative study of the mind. He is interested in understanding how people make decisions and in tracing out the underlying psychological and neural mechanisms of choice. Research in his lab employs an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on methods and ideas from social and cognitive neuroscience, experimental economics, and personality psychology.

Michael E. Mann is a climate scientist who will join the Penn faculty in 2022 as Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, with a secondary appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. He will be the inaugural director of a new Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. Now a distinguished professor at Penn State, he is co-founder of and author of over 200 peer-reviewed and edited publications and five books, including “The New Climate War.”

Barbara Mellers is the George I. Heyman University Professor at Penn, with cross-appointments in School of Arts & Sciences and at Wharton. She studies how people make judgments and decisions, and models how people make decisions when their choices deviate from normative principles. A co-Principal Investigator of the Good Judgment Project, which demonstrated how “superforecasters” could learn to make extraordinarily accurate predictions, Mellers has focused recently on how to improve judgments and decisions in individuals and groups.

Katy Milkman is the James G. Dinan Professor at the Wharton School, host of Charles Schwab’s behavioral economics podcast Choiceology, and former president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative, a research center with the mission of advancing the science of lasting behavior change, and has worked with or advised dozens of organizations on how to spur positive change.

Yotam Ophir, an assistant professor of communication at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, studies political and science communication, misinformation and extremism, persuasion, and media effects. His research combines novel computational tools for automated content analysis such as machine learning, topic modeling, and network analysis with experiments, surveys, and in-depth qualitative analysis to study media content and its effects on audiences.

Josh Pasek is an associate professor of communication and media and faculty associate in the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan. His research explores how new media and psychological processes shape political attitudes, public opinion, and political behaviors, as well as examining issues in the measurement of public opinion, including techniques for reducing measurement error and improving population inferences.

Martin E.P. Seligman is the director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology, as well as director of the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology program. He is a leading authority in the fields of positive psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism, as well as on interventions that prevent depression and build strengths and well-being.

Philip E. Tetlock holds the Annenberg University Professor chair at the University of Pennsylvania, with cross-appointments at Wharton and the School of Arts & Sciences. His work crosses the boundaries of social, organizational, and political psychology on topics such as accountability, value conflict, counterfactual reasoning and taboo trade-offs. His recent work focuses on forecasting tournaments and their potential to improve intelligence analysis and depolarize unnecessarily polarized debates.

Antonia M. Villarruel is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. As a bilingual, bicultural researcher, Villarruel has extensive experience working with Latino populations, health promotion, and disparities. She co-leads the NIH-funded Philadelphia Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL), which seeks to optimize the rollout and real-time evaluation of interventions focused on Covid-19 disparities across diverse populations.

Dror Walter is an assistant professor of digital communication at Georgia State University. His research, centered on the intersection between traditional media effects theories and novel computational social science methods, addresses the ways computational methods such as network analysis, unsupervised machine learning, and supervised machine learning can aid our understanding of two interrelated domains: extremist political communication, and health-related misinformation.