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Amit Goldenberg

Amit Goldenberg, Lab Director

I am an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, an affiliate with Harvard’s Department of Psychology,  and a member of the Digital Data and Design Institute (D^3). My research focuses on what makes people emotional in social and group contexts, and how such emotions can be changed when they are unhelpful or undesired. I am particularly interested in how technology is used for both emotion detection and regulation. 

In my work I try to integrate between experimental psychology that examines behavior at the individual level, and research inspired by complex systems, in which I focus on the psychology of collectives.  To integrate these domains, I employ a multi-method approach that combines behavioral experiments, analysis of data from digital media, and computational modeling.

I received my PhD in psychology from Stanford University. Before that, I worked as a journalist and a writer. In 2016, my first novel  ‘A City Forsaken’ (עיר הנידחת) was published in Israel (Keter Publishing House).


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Amala Okafor, Lab manager

I am a senior research manager at the Digital, Data and Design (D^3) Institute at the Harvard Business School, with administrative and research management support functions for four labs including Digital Emotions. I have a legal training background with administrative work experience spanning through Tufts Medical Center, Harvard John Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I coordinate the Institute’s administrative activities for the labs and manage timelines between the principal investigators and their collaborators. I also ensure that the labs’ projects for the institute align with its guidelines, goals, objectives, among other functions.


I graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in law from University of Ibadan, and Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, respectively, and was called to the Nigerian Bar. I was an assistant professor of criminal and administrative law, and a criminal trial attorney before starting a career in administration and management.


    Eric Shuman, Postdoctoral fellow

    I am a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Amit Goldenberg at Harvard Business School and with Eric Knowles at New York University. My research focuses on intergroup relations and interventions to advance social change towards greater equality. More specifically, my work focuses on identifying the effects and effectiveness of various types of collective action by the disadvantaged and understanding the psychological roots of resistance to social change among the advantaged group. Further I am interested in understanding the spread of engagement with social movements on social networks and how this connects to offline action.

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    Federico Zimmerman, Postdoctoral fellow 

    I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lab within the Digital, Data, and Design Institute at Harvard Business School.

    I am a computational social scientist who is interested in the psychological processes associated with social interactions. During my doctoral studies at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, I conducted research using a combination of experimental and computational methods to investigate the underlying psychological mechanisms behind affective polarization and political segregation. 

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    Ella Givon, Postdoctoral fellow 

    I am a clinical psychologist and Postdoctoral Fellow at the lab, affiliated to Harvard's psychology department.

    I obtained my BA, MA, and PhD degrees from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. In my research, I employ computational models to gain deeper insights into the conscious subjective emotional experience. During my doctoral studies, I focused on investigating the dissociation between semantic valence and actual experience, as well as empirically testing the concept of emotional errors. I am interested in how people know what they feel and specially in sex differences in emotional experiences.


      Megan Gorges, PHD Student 

      I am a doctoral student in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School.


      I am broadly interested in emotions at work, and am working on projects focused on gender and emotion perception, passion, and awe. I studied psychology at UC Berkeley and then worked for three years as a Human Capital Consultant at Deloitte. Prior to joining HBS, I was a Lab Manager at Berkeley Haas and helped to manage the Berkeley Culture Initiative.


        Ke Wang, PHD Student 

        I am a doctoral student in Public Policy at Harvard University studying judgment and decision making.


        I received my Bachelors degree from Wuhan University and his Masters degree from the University of Chicago, concentrating in Psychology. My current research focuses on how emotions influence us and how we influence emotions in contexts such as health, morality, and social interactions. I enjoys exploring the human mind and behavior, and am eager to apply behavioral insights to make a better society.

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        Daan Vandermeule, PHD Student 

        I am a Ph.D. student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the supervision of Prof. Eran Halperin.


        I received a B.S. and M.S. in Psychology at the University of Leuven. My main research interests focus on the mechanisms driving emotional similarity amongst members of a group and the implications of emotional similarity for individual and group outcomes.


          Yajun Cao, PHD Student 

          I am a Ph.D. student in Organizational Behavior at Harvard Business School.


          I received a B.S. in Psychology and B.B.A. from Peking University. My research interests revolve around emotions and social cognition. I am especially interested in how emotions and perceptions shape interpersonal interactions and their management applications.


            Kyle LaFollette, PHD Student 

            I am a PhD candidate in Psychology at Case Western Reserve University, working primarily with Professors Heath Demaree, Brooke Macnamara, and Amit Goldenberg. My research focuses on cognitive mechanisms underlying social and emotional decision-making, particularly where negative emotions are perceived or experienced. I primarily use computational cognitive modeling and affective computing methods to explore these mechanisms. My work aims to elucidate the cognitive processes that give rise to affective decisions, by investigating how negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger, and sadness, influence individuals and collectives. In addition to this primary line of research, I also have interests in developing new computational methods for psychological science, such as equation discovery algorithms for reinforcement learning models and simulation routines for diffusion models with analytically intractable likelihood functions.


            Prior to my doctoral studies, I obtained a B.Sc. in Cognitive Science and Biopsychology from the University of Michigan and conducted post-bac research at the University of Arizona and Stanford University.


              Honglin Bao, Research Assistant

              I graduated from Michigan State and current work with Amit as a Research Associate. 


              From the view of complex adaptive systems, my research focuses on the "collective behavior" in social systems - Science, Organization, Culture, and Social Media - using computational methods and collaborating with experimentalists. 

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              Joanna Zun Li, Research Assistant

              I am a research associate in Amit’s lab working on technology and emotion regulation.


              I am broadly interested in how player dynamics systems influence inter/intrapersonal processes in online games and VR. I am passionate about the potential of online spaces to democratize access to experiences.


              I received my bachelor’s in business and psychology from New York University and my master’s in human development from Harvard. Prior to joining HBS, I worked with Sesame Workshop’s Joan Ganz Cooney Centre, the Fair Play Alliance, and Riot Games in developing a design playbook for digital thriving.

                Visitors and Affiliates


                Jonas Paul Schöne

                I am a doctoral student in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford supervised by Prof. Brian Parkinson and Prof. Amit Goldenberg.


                In my research I investigate the spread of emotions in groups, specifically the reason why negative emotions tend to spread faster, and the factors and consequences of this spread. To answer these questions I use mixed methods, combining traditional psychological research techniques with modern computational social science approaches. Prior to my doctoral studies I obtained a B.Sc. in Business Psychology and researched emotions at the Stanford University, Norwegian Cyber Defense Force, and the Leicester City Football Academy. 

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                Alina Herderich

                I am a doctoral student in Computational Social Science at the University of Technology in Graz. I am joining the Goldenberg Lab as a visiting fellow in the academic year of 23/24.

                My research revolves around the measurement of psychological constructs in general, and the theory and measurement of emotion regulation specifically. I developed a method that allows to infer taxonomies of psychological constructs from semi-structured text data applying techniques both from psychology and computer science, an approach that is supposed to complement classical psychological scale development. I am interested in creating a comprehensive taxonomy of emotion regulation strategies and hence improve the measurement of emotion regulation profiles. Other research interests include hate and counter speech online, where my collaborators and I investigate the effectiveness of different counter speech strategies and their potential for collective civic moderation.

                I obtained a B.Sc. in Business Psychology at Leuphana University Lüneburg, as well as a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Graz. I also hold a Computer Science Certificate from Graz University of Technology, where I am currently enrolled as a PhD student in Computer Science.

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                  Liel Ben-Or

                  I am a developer working with Amit Goldenberg. I specialize at full-stack Development especially with React.js. I have worked in the Lab in previous projects, introducing innovative technology and performing maintenance tasks with dedication and proficiency.

                  Feel free to connect and delve deeper into my projects on My technical foundation was built at the Open University of Israel, where I completed comprehensive courses in Mathematics and Computer Science. Supplementing this formal education, I delved into self teaching, honing my skills until I transitioned into my first professional role.

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