Potential graduate student instructions:
Professor Joe Henrich will consider accepting graduate students for the 2023-2024 school year. As a lab policy, Dr. Henrich does not meet with potential students prior to seeing their applications. If you would like to gauge your fit to the lab prior to submitting an application, contact Mona Xue (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an introduction and list a few graduate students/post-docs that you might be interested in chatting with based on your research interests, and Mona can provide you with their contact information. A list of current lab members can be found here: https://coevolution.fas.harvard.edu/current-lab-members.
For more information about applying to HEB, see the departmental website (https://heb.fas.harvard.edu/graduate-program/applying-heb).
Post-doc position available. Please apply at the following link:
Interested in volunteering as an RA for the Culture, Cognition and Coevolution Lab?
Volunteering for a research lab is a rewarding experience that can serve as preparation for graduate school or other related endeavors. See below for a list of research projects that can use your help. Interested research assistents should email Mona Xue (email@example.com) with a brief statement about the project they are interested in.
Anansi Story Annotating Project (Manvir Singh and TC Zeng)
Anansi seeks to create a database consisting of more than 1,600 legends, folktales, and myths from around the world. You will be coding them, meaning that you will be reading the stories and answering questionnaires that include questions both about each story as a whole and individual characters.
Systematic review of linguistic fairness in medicine and public health (Damián Blasi and Joseph Dexter)
Text-based methods and metrics are central to many areas of life, from marketing and social media curation to medical diagnosis. A common feature of language-based assessments across domains is the central position of English - with few exceptions, methods tend to be developed with English-language corpora in mind and then adapted hastily (if at all) to other languages and cultural contexts. For clinical and public health applications, such linguistic unfairness can have serious adverse consequences for health equity and can complicate studies of the influence of culture on psychological wellbeing, but the scope of the problem remains poorly defined. As an RA you will work with us to conduct a systematic review of language-based assessments in medicine, giving particular attention to the prevalence for English-only methods and, for multilingual approaches, the quality of validation data available for the other languages include. This work will culminate in the joint preparation of a short review article, which we will aim to submit to a medical journal in early 2022.
Quantifying perceptions of genre (Joseph Dexter)
Genre - whether a text is poetry or prose, or, more specifically, a novel, biography, or political speech - is a central organizing principle in the study of literature: presumably many of you have taken a course on, say, 19th century British novels or early modern drama. When given the frequencies of common words or various stylistic markers for a set of texts, computers do very well at identifying genre. Accuracies in excess of 95% are not unusual, and this strong performance underlies a lot of interesting research in the digital humanities and computational social sciences. Yet little is known about human performance on the same task (especially for cross-cultural samples). Taking inspiration from a recent study of music in which participants successfully identified the social function of unfamiliar songs just by listening to short clips (Mehr et al. 2018), we will investigate the perceptual basis for distinguishing literary genres. Study participants will read short passages of English literature with all formatting cues removed and answer questions about the genre of each passage and the stylistic features that most informed their guesses. As an RA you will help with design of a pilot experiment, refinement of the survey instrument following the pilot, and analysis of the final results.