Human Nature Lab

I am a scientist working in the Christakis Lab at Yale, where we use network science, genomics and experiments to understand biological foundations of human sociality.

Visit the lab


Selected Publications

We show experimentally for the first time in a real-life setting that institutions of integration can upregulate human altruism and restore cooperation in the presence of diversity.
In Science, 2011

We provide the first empirical characterization of physicians’ loss functions. We find that even the physicians’ subjective belief distributions over outcomes are not well calibrated, with the loss characterized by asymmetry in favor of over-predicting patients’ survival. We show that the physicians’ bias is further increased by (1) reduction of the belief distributions to point forecasts, (2) communication of the forecast to the patient, and (3) physicians’ own past experience and reputation.
In Journal of Health Economics, 2011

We find that economic crises are extremely costly and lead to a more than proportional increase in infant mortality in the short-run. Substantial public spending on health is required in order to limit their impact.
In Applied Economics, 2011

This paper introduces quantile regression methods for the analysis of time-series-cross-section data. Quantile regression offers a robust, and therefore efficient alternative to least squares estimation. We show that quantile regression can be used in the presence of endogenous covariates, and can also account for unobserved individual effects.
In IJSMS, 2011


Our Human Nature Lab does interdisciplinary work and welcomes undergraduate and graduate students across all physical and life science fields, as well as engineering, computer science, and math. Our PI, Professor Nicholas A. Christakis, holds appointments in EEB, BME, S&DS, Sociology, and Medicine, so any graduate students in search of a lab to join are especially welcome to come and check out our work.

Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistant positions are available both during school year and over the summer. Postdoc positions are also available for well-qualified graduates. If interested, contact me by email to set up an introductory meeting, or contact Nicholas directly after checking out the lab website.