Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University, specializing in political psychology, extremism, public opinion, racial and ethnic politics, and quantitative methods.
I study extremism in democracies. More specifically, my work explores what extremism is and what encourages and discourages extremism, in the public and at the elite level. I consider both a general approach to extremism and several specific kinds – including racial extremism, partisan extremism, and populism. My research on extremism relies on various methods, using lab experiments, quasi-experiments, survey experiments, text-as-data, surveys, artificial intelligence, and big data from Google and Twitter.
I find that that combined forms correspond more highly with anti-democratic attitudes than cross-pressured varieties. Across my research, I also find that extremism is more likely when elites encourage dispositional blame, people experience threatening kinds of intergroup contact, and people see their opponents in identity-based ways. In contrast, extremism is reduced when individuals view opponents in more instrumental terms and when elites emphasize more impersonal forms of blame.
In my ongoing projects, I build on these findings in a number of ways. I consider how elites encourage and respond to racial extremism, the way conflict between outgroups undermines the possibility of political coalitions, how parents’ socialization of their children undermines or bolsters inequality, the connection between a need for a positive self-image and group-based extremism, how the public and elites perceive of extremism, and the way elites and the public react to extremist perspectives. I also consider the ways that artificial intelligence language models unveil the bias and extremism found in the public at large.
You can see more details about my research projects on the research page of my website. You can access my full CV here