I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology. My dissertation analyzes public perceptions of politicians’ character traits, arguing that character traits represent particular moral “foundations.” Building on moral foundations theory, my dissertation lends insight into how politicians can influence perceptions of their character traits through position-taking and rhetoric. Additionally, I examine the downstream effects of character trait perceptions, showing that different trait dimensions hold different implications for perceptions of politicians’ ideology, and the types of rumors we are likely to believe about them.
More broadly, I am interested in applying moral psychology to politics to aid our understanding of topics such as opinion formation, polarization and elite rhetoric. In addition to my substantive work, I am interested in best practices in survey and experimental design.