David G. Rand


David G. Rand


David Rand is 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.


"Invisible Inequality Leads to Punishing the Poor and Rewarding the Rich."

Hauser, Oliver P., Gordon T. Kraft-Todd, David G. Rand, and Martin A. Nowak. Forthcoming. Download paper.

"Signaling When No One Is Watching: A Reputation Heuristics Account of Outrage and Punishment in One-shot Anonymous Interactions."

Jordan, Jillian and David G. Rand. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Forthcoming.

"Turkers of the World, Unite: Evidence for In-Group Selection Amongst Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers."

Almaatouq, Abdullah, Peter Krafft, Yarrow Dunham, David G. Rand, and Alex Pentland. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Forthcoming.

"Investigating the Robustness of the Illusory Truth Effect across Individual Differences in Cognitive Ability, Need for Cognitive Closure, and Cognitive Style."

De keersmaecker, Jonas, David Dunning, Gordon Pennycook, David G. Rand, Carmen Sanchez, Christian Unkelbach, and Arne Roets, MIT Sloan Working Paper 5763-19. Cambridge, MA: MIT Sloan School of Management, April 2019.

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Recent Insights


MIT Sloan study finds crowdsourcing effective tool to fight fake news

A recent study by MIT Sloan School of Management Prof. David Rand and Prof. Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina finds there is a possible solution to false news: crowdsourcing.

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Ideas Made to Matter

Crowdsourced ratings of online news quality may actually work

People are nearly as good as fact-checkers at sussing out unreliable news sources, a new study finds.

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