David G. Rand


David G. Rand


David Rand is the Erwin H. Schell Professor and an Associate Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT Sloan, and the Director of the Human Cooperation Laboratory and the Applied Cooperation Team.

Bridging the fields of behavioral economics and psychology, David’s research combines mathematical/computational models with human behavioral experiments and online/field studies to understand human behavior. His work uses a cognitive science perspective grounded in the tension between more intuitive versus deliberative modes of decision-making, and explores topics such as cooperation/prosociality, punishment/condemnation, perceived accuracy of false or misleading news stories, political preferences, and the dynamics of social media platform behavior. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the American Economic Review, Psychological Science, and Management Science. He has received widespread attention from print, radio, TV and social media outlets, and has also written popular press articles for outlets including the New York Times, Wired, New Scientist, and the APS Observer. He was named to Wired magazine’s The Smart List 2012: “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, and was selected as fact-checking researcher of the year in 2017 by the Poytner Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network. Papers he has coauthored have been awarded Best Paper of the Year in Experimental Economics, Social Cognition, and Political Methodology.

David received his BA in Computational Biology from Cornell University in 2004 and his PhD 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 of Psychology, Economics, and Management at Yale University prior to joining the faculty at MIT.


"Are Those Who Believe in God Actually More Prosocial?"

Stagnaro, Michael, Antonio Arechar, and David G. Rand. Religion, Brain, and Behavior. Forthcoming. Download Paper.

"Community Violence and Prosociality: Experiencing and Committing Violence Predicts Norm-Enforcing Punishment but Not Cooperation."

Littman, Rebecca, Suzanne Estrada, Michael Nick Stagnaro, Yarrow Dunham, David G. Rand, Arielle Baskin-Sommers. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Forthcoming. Download Paper.

"Fake News, Fast and Slow: Deliberation Reduces Belief in False (but not true) News Headlines."

Bago, Bence, David G. Rand, and Gordon Pennycook. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Forthcoming. Download Paper.

"Framing Effects in the Prisoner’s Dilemma but not in the Dictator Game."

Goerge, Sebastian J., David G. Rand, and Gari Walkowitz. Journal of the Economic Science Association. Forthcoming. Download Paper.

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