Social Motifs

The Social Motifs lab examines the ideas and beliefs that underlay principles of organization and social relationships. We explore the architecture of individual responsibility and awareness in a social context, with a goal of identifying invisible mechanisms that interrupt meaningful human interactions.

We aim to create solutions that actively confront the barriers to our fundamental capacity to understand one another, targeting a variety of factors such as social power dynamics, predisposed fears and perceptions, self-control, and social goals. 



  • How do group membership, competition, and prejudice disrupt the processes that allow people to see others as human and to empathize with others? (Inspired by Mina Cikara, Ph.D.)
  • How do we build communities that promote social mindfulness and challenge social mindlessness?
  • How do we prioritize the voices of underepresented individuals and groups?
  • To what extent does research design impact policy and the distribution of resources?
  • How can we make social awareness more 


  • Study the successes of social media and apply stratgies toward social movements
  • Identify the weakest links of the education system and the inflection points with the greatest impact to students, educators, and schools
  • To develop innovative teaching methods that translate into unconventional intellectual experiences
  • To build meaningful opportunities for intellectual growth inside and outside the formal classroom space
  • To directly address the systemic biases and limitations