Jennifer Lerner

Jennifer Lerner

Professor of Public Policy and Management, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Co-founder and Director, Harvard Laboratory for Decision Science

 In her role as head of the Harvard Laboratory for Decision Science, Jennifer Lerner draws primarily on psychology, economics, and neuroscience to study human judgment and decision making. She pursues two main research interests within the field of decision science: emotion and accountability. Her research into emotion examines how human feelings influence outcomes involving risk perception, everyday economic transactions, and legal judgments. Published widely in scientific journals, Lerner’s research has been summarized in the New York Times, on Good Morning America, and in other popular media. She has received several awards for her research, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Lerner serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Behavioral Decision Research. She received tenure as a full professor at Harvard in 2007, prior to which she was the McCandless Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.


B.A., University of Michigan Honors College

M.A., University of California, Berkeley

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

M.A., Harvard University (honorary)

Research interests

Accountability, emotion, human emotion, judgment and decision making, leadership, management, organizational behavior, risk perception, social psychology, negotiation

Selected publications

  • With C. E. Cryder, J. J. Gross, and R. E. Dhal. “Misery Is Not Miserly.” Psychological Science 19, no. 6 (2008): 525–530.
  • With D. A. Small. “Emotional Policy: Personal Sadness and Anger Shape Judgments about a Welfare Case.” Political Psychology 29 (2008): 149–168
  • With S. Han and D. Keltner. “Feelings and Consumer Decision Making: The Appraisal-Tendency Framework.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 17, no. 3 (2007): 158–168.
  • With R. E. Dahl, A. R. Hariri, and S. E. Taylor. “Facial Expressions of Emotion Reveal Neuroendocrine and Cardiovascular Stress Responses.” Biological Psychiatry 61, no. 2 (2007): 253–260.



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