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Main Personnel

Current Members

The Center for Decision Sciences was founded in 1999 by Eric JohnsonDavid Krantz, and Elke Weber to unify the decision sciences across the Columbia University campus, and initially was a unit of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). 

In 2008, the CDS moved to the Columbia Business School, where it is now co-directed by Eric Johnson and Elke Weber. 

Activities are overseen by a Strategy Committee consisting of the following members of the Columbia Business School faculty:

Daniel R. Ames,  Associate Professor, Management 

Gita V. Johar,  Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business, Marketing 

Eric J. Johnson, Norman Eig Professor of Business, Marketing 

Michael W. Morris,  Chavkin-Chang Professor of Leadership, Management 

Paul Tetlock Roger F. Murray Associate Professor of Finance, Finance and Economics 

Olivier Toubia, David W. Zalaznick Associate Professor of Business, Marketing 

Elke U. Weber Jerome A. Chazen Professor of International Business, Management


Eric J. Johnson

Professor Johnson is Director of the Center for Decision Sciences. His research examines the interface between Behavioral Decision Research, economics and the decisions made by consumers, managers, and their implications for public policy, markets and marketing. Among other topics, Johnson has explored how the way options are presented to decision-makers affect their choices in areas such as organ donation, the choice of environmentally friendly products, and investments. After graduation from Rutgers University, he received his M.S. and PhD. in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University, and was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Stanford. He has taught at Carnegie Mellon, was a visiting professor at the Sloan School at MIT, was the inaugural holder of the David W. Hauck Chair in Marketing, and a Professor of Operations and Information Management and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. The National Science Foundation, The National Institutes of Health, The Alfred P. Sloan and Russell Sage Foundations, and the Office of Naval Research have supported his research. He was awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology, and named a Fellow by the Association for Consumer Research. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Economics from the University of St. Gallen, and is a Fellow of the TIAA- CREF Institute and the Association for Psychological Science. According to the Institute for Scientific Information, he is one of the most highly cited scholars in Business and Economics.

Current Research

Decision Making Across the Life Span

Preferences as Memory (PAM)


Elke U. Weber


Professor Weber works at the intersection of psychology and economics. She is an expert on behavioral models of judgment and decision making under risk and uncertainty. Recently she has been investigating psychologically appropriate ways to measure and model individual and cultural differences in risk taking, specifically in risky financial situations and environmental decision making and policy. Weber is past president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, coeditor of Risk Decision & Policy and associate editor of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. She serves on the editorial boards of two other journals, on the executive councils of INFORMS's Decision Analysis Society and the Society for Mathematical Psychology and on an advisory committee of the National Academy of Sciences on Human Dimensions in Global Change.


Current Research

Affective and Deliberative Risky Decision Making

Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)


Cross-Cultural Decision Making

Decision Making Across the Life Span

Domain-Specific Risk Taking in younger and older adults

Moral and Ethical Decision Making

Preferences as Memory (PAM)

Risk Taking in Adolescents

Sustainability Utilizing Social Science Theory: An Interdisciplinary Network (SUSSTAIN)

Research Associates

Ruth Greenspan Bell

Bell is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and the co-leader with Elke Weber of a program to harvest insights from behavioral social science research to motivate a variety of behavior changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impact climate challenge. Her previous positions include Senior Fellow and Director of the US Climate Policy Objective at World Resources Institute (WRI); directing International Institutional Development and Environmental Assistance (IIDEA) at Resources for the Future (a program to build more effective systems of environmental protection globally, producing, for example, a highly acclaimed study of the policy process and changes –including the switch of all commercial vehicles from petrol and diesel to CNG -- that led to improvements in air quality in Delhi); Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; and before that, various domestic management positions in U.S. EPA's Office of General Counsel. Bell publishes extensively about climate change and other environmental issues, addressing a wide range of policy and environmental audiences (Foreign Affairs, Issues in Science and Technology, Environmental Forum, Environmental Law Reporter, Environment, and Harvard International Review among them). Bell is a graduate of UCLA and the School of Law of the University of California at Berkeley; serves on several boards (currently the International Senior Lawyers Project and The Mountain Institute) and is a long-standing member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Current Research

Sustainability Utilizing Social Science Theory: An Interdisciplinary Network (SUSSTAIN)



Lisa Zaval

Lisa holds a PhD from the Columbia Psychology department. Her research investigates how people make decisions about the environment. 

Research Assistants

Salah Chafik (Lab Coordinator)

Salah holds a BA in International Relations and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania. His experience as a Research Assistant includes positions at Innovations for Poverty Action conducting a randomized controlled trial (RTC) impact evaluation on a rural enterprise support project in Morocco, and at the Earth Institute onboard a national level facility mapping project in Nigeria.  Having a background in international development, Salah is particularly interested in decision making under risk, uncertainty, and poverty.

Daniel Wall (Research Coordinator)

Dan has graduated with a BS in Industrial Engineering from Penn State and holds an MS in Evolutionary Psychology from Brunel University. For his masters thesis, he performed a behavioral economic experiment which investigated how individual differences affect rejection thresholds in the Ultimatum Game.

Tema Watstein (Research Coordinator at SUSSTAIN)


Lab Alumni


Eric Schoenberg (Associate Director -2011)


Professor Schoenberg studies the psychology of money, with a particular emphasis on intergenerational wealth transfers and behavior in financial markets. His career has encompassed both practical experience and theoretical study in business, as Managing Director and Chief Knowledge Officer of Broadview International, a boutique investment bank; in government, as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. State Department; and in academia, having received a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University, an MBA in Decision Science from the Wharton School, an MSE in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and an AB in Biology from Harvard.



Daniel R. Ames (Postdoc 2000-2002)
Daniel is now Associate Professor of Management at Columbia Business School as well as Sanford C. Bernstein Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Management Division of Columbia Business School. His research primarily concerns social judgment and behavior. Specifically, he is interested in how people "read minds" to make inferences about what others think. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology and Associate Director of the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia University and a Postdoctoral Fellow and Director of the Behavioral Lab at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is affiliated with the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, International Association for Conflict Management, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Society for Judgment and Decision Making. See Daniel's professional webpage for more information.


Dan Goldstein (Postdoc and Lab Manager 2002) 

Dan is now a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in New York City and Honorary Research Fellow at London Business School in the UK. He is also the Editor of Decision Science News. His research emphasizes how psychology and decision making relate to business and policy. See Dan's personal webpage for more information


Mary Steffel (Research Assistant 2003-2004) 

Mary is now an assistant professor of marketing at the Lindner College of Business at University of Cincinnati. She completed her marketing PhD at The University of Florida and her psychology PhD at Princeton University. Her research is at the interface of self and social perception and judgment and decision making, focusing on developing a better understanding of how decision making functions in a broader social context. She studies how people gauge their own and others’ preferences, how actors and observers come to differ in the judgments and choices they make, how comparison standards and other contextual factors impact the judgments and choices people make for themselves and others, and what predicts when people turn to others to help them make decisions. Her research on social comparison in decisions for others was awarded the 2012 Society of Consumer Psychology dissertation proposal award. She teaches consumer behavior. See Mary's academic webpage for more information.


Peter Jarnebrant (PhD Student 2004-2009)

Peter is now Assistant Professor at ESMT European School of Management and Technology while he finishes his Ph.D. in Marketing from Columbia University. He previously was a fellow of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and of the Olin Foundation, and in 2007 he was awarded a fellowship with the American Marketing Association’s Doctoral Consortium. His research primarily concerns consumer behavior, particularly how consumers gain store information and its influence on their choices. 


Martijn Willemsen (Postdoc 2004-2006)

Martijn Willemsen is assistant professor in the Human-Technology Interaction group at the school of Innovation Sciences at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He holds a masters degree in Electrical Engineering and in Technology and Society from Eindhoven University of Technology. After obtaining his Ph.D. in the psychology of decision making, he obtained a Veni-grant from NWO, the Dutch national science foundation. He worked as a postdoc at Columbia University, where he developed, together with Eric Johnson, an online tool for studying information acquisition processes of decision makers, mouselabWEB. Currently, Martijn teaches in the bachelor's program in Psychology and Technology and the master's program in Human-Technology Interaction at Eindhoven University of Technology. Vist his website.


Kirstin Appelt (Postdoc & Research Fellow 2004-2011)

Kirstin is broadly interested in how consumers make decisions and the sometimes surprising factors that affect these decisions. Her research has investigated consumer choice in three domains (retirement financial decision making, healthcare decision making, and interpersonal negotiations) and from two perspectives (choice architecture and individual differences). After working for Google as  People Analyst she is now a Decision Science Research Consultant at Pacific Business Group on health and a Usability Subject Matter Expert at California Health Benefit Exchange. Visit her website.


Ryan O. Murphy (Postdoc and Lab Manager 2005-2008) 

Ryan is now Chair and Assistant Professor of Decision Theory and Behavioral Game Theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. His research examines decision-making in interdependent situations, how decisions are made in risky and dynamic environments, and developing quantitative models to describe and predict behavior in these environments. See Ryan's personal webpage for more information.


Amy Krosch (Lab Manager 2006-2009)

Amy is now a doctoral student at New York University in Social Psychology. Her research interests include distributive justice, social neuroscience, race-bias, prejudice, and intergroup relations. She is a member of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for Social Neuroscience, and the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society. See Amy's academic webpage for more information


Issac Dinner (PhD Student 2005 - 2010)

Issac is now an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Isaac Dinner´s research interests lie in using quantitative models to value marketing communications with customers and financial markets. His research projects include the value implications of corporate branding in mergers, valuing corporate level marketing spending, measuring online-offline advertising effects, and the role of non-financial information in communicating with the financial markets. See Isaac's faculty webpage for more information


Jing Qian (Postdoc 2008-2009)

Jing is now an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  Her current research focuses on dynamic decision making in groups and social cognition. See Jing's faculty webpage for more information


Eustace Hsu (Research Assistant 2009-2010)

Eustace is now a graduate student at the University of Southern California studying psychology. He is part of Professor John Monterosso’s Self-Control Neuroscience Research Lab.


Annie Ma (Research Assistant 2009-2010)

Annie is now an associate at Google in San Francisco, CA. She studied economics and psychology at Columbia. 


Julie Zelmanova (Research Assistant 2009-2010)


Julie is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  She is currently applying to PhD programs.


Alex DePaoli (Summer Intern 2010)

Alex is currently a PhD student at Stanford Graduate School of Business studying organizational behavior.


Raluca Ursu (Summer Intern 2010)

Raluca is a PhD student at the University of Chicago, studying economics.


Bernd Figner (Postdoc 2006-2010)

Dr. Figner's is now Assistant Professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. His research is concerned with the interplay of affective and deliberative processes in decision making, specifically in the areas of risky decision making and intertemporal choice. This work investigates which situational and personal characteristics lead to differential involvement of affective versus deliberative processes (e.g., static versus dynamic choice situations), how affect-based versus deliberative decisions differ in the underlying processes such as information use, and how the resulting decisions differ (e.g., with respect to risk taking or increased impulsiveness). Dr. Figner studies the development of these processes across the lifespan, with a focus on the changes that occur during the transitions from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood. He uses behavioral and physiological measures as well as brain imaging and brain stimulation techniques. He is a research scientist at the Center for Decision Sciences and the Department of Psychology, sponsored by grants from the US and Swiss National Science Foundations.  


Martine Baldassi (Lab coordinator 2008-2011)

Martine currently works as a psychologist at the CLSC in Montreal.


Seoungwoo Lee (Research Assistant 2009-2011)

Seoungwoo holds an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from Korea University and a master’s degree in operations research from Columbia University. His research interests include quantitative modeling, consumer choice and Bayesian statistics in marketing.


Hiro Kotabe (Research Assistant 2009-2011)

Hiro is now a PhD student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Hamdan Azhar (Research Assistant 2011-2012)

Hamdan Azhar is a New York-based writer and statistician. He earned his master's in biostatistics from the University of Michigan and has completed a year of doctoral coursework in neuroscience at the University of Chicago. He has held research positions at the United Nations (in statistical demography), at the University of Michigan (in cognitive neuroscience), and at Columbia Business School (in decision-making).


Jonathan Westfall (Postdoc 2009-2012)

Jon is now a professor, researcher and technologist working in Shreveport, Louisiana, at Centenary College of Louisiana. He teaches a variety of courses in psychology, from introduction to psychology to upper-level seminars. His current research focuses on the variables individuals use when making economic and consumer finance decisions, specifically strength of handedness, a variable correlated with a number of decision-making and cognitive psychology tasks and measures. Dr. Westfall also conducts research on consumer financial decision making, and applications to both marketing and public policy. His current appointment is as a Visiting Assistant Professor. For more information click here.


Ye Li (Postdoc 2009-2012)

Ye Li is currently an assistant professor of management at University of California Riverside. Visit personal website.


Cindy Kim (Research Coordinator 2010-2012)

Cindy is now a research coordinator at Stanford University Department of Psychology.


Rachel Meng (Summer Interns 2011)

Rachel is now a PhD student at Columbia Business School.


Margaret Lee (Lab Coordinator 2010-2012)

Margaret is now a PhD student at the London Business School studying organizational behavior.


Galen Treuer (Research Assistant 2010-2012)

Galen is now a PhD student at the University of Miami.


Stephen Atlas (Graduate Student 2008-2013)

Stephen was a PhD student in Marketing. His research interests include intertemporal choice, financial decision making, mental accounting, judgement and decision making and social norms.


Zeynep Enkavi (Lab Coordinator 2012-2014)

Zeynep recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Cognitive Science and German Studies. She completed her undergraduate honors thesis under the supervision of Prof. Kable and conducted experiments in intertemporal choice settings using eyetracking. Her research interests include cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying judgment and decision making. She will be attending Stanford University starting fall 2014 as a PhD student in the Psychology Department.


H. Min Bang (Research Coordinator)

Min graduated from Indiana University Bloomington majoring in Psychology and earned her master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is interested in managerial decision making and organizational behavior research. She will be joining the PhD program in Management at Fuqua School of Business, Duke University in the fall 2013.


Jie Gao (Post-Doc)

Jie is currently a researcher at ETS.