SMaPP: Social Media and Political Participation


Principal Investigators

richRichard Bonneau
Personal Site
Google Scholar
Biology and Computer Science

Rich Bonneau is an Associate Professor of Biology and Computer Science at NYU. Professor Bonneau’s laboratory is focused on two areas in computational and systems biology: 1) Predicting and designing protein and peptidomimetic structure and 2) Learning dynamic network models automatically from functional genomics data using scalable methods.

In both research areas Professor Bonneau has played key roles in achieving critical field-wide milestones. In the area of structure prediction he was one of the early authors on the Rosetta code, which was one of the first codes to demonstrate accurate and comprehensive ability to predict protein structure in the absence of detectable sequence homology to proteins with known structures. His lab continues to be a core contributor to the Rosetta research community, participating in the recent refactoring of the code and adding several new functionalities.

Professor Bonneau’s lab has also made key contributions to the area of genomics data analysis in a systems-biology context. His lab focuses on developing new methods for network inference that simultaneously learn dynamics and topology from data (the Inferelator), and methods that learn condition-dependent co-regulated gene groups from integrations of different genomics data- types (e.g. transcriptomic, proteomic, etc.) using approaches we have developed (cMonkey and multi-species-cMonkey integrative biclustering). In the DREAM3 and DREAM4 blind assessment of network inference methods they were top performers in the network inference category, and are currently contributing to a joint paper resulting from DREAM5 (the most current assessment of network inference methods).


johnjostJohn Jost
Personal Site
Google Scholar
Psychology and Politics

John T. Jost is Professor of Psychology and Politics and Co-Director of the Center for Social and Political Behavior at New York University. His research, which addresses stereotyping, prejudice, political ideology, and system justification theory, has been funded by the National Science Foundation and has appeared in top scientific journals and received national and international media attention. He has published over 150 journal articles and book chapters and four co-edited book volumes, including Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification (Oxford, 2009). He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize, Erik Erikson Award for Early Career Research Achievement in Political Psychology, International Society for Self and Identity Early Career Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology Theoretical Innovation Prize, Society of Experimental Social Psychology Career Trajectory Award, and the Morton Deutsch Award for Distinguished Scholarly and Practical Contributions to Social Justice. He has served on several editorial boards and executive committees of professional societies and is currently editor of the Oxford University Press book series on Political Psychology. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and the Association of Psychological Science.


nagler_headshotJonathan Nagler
Personal Site
Google Scholar

Jonathan Nagler is Professor of Politics at New York University. He received his AB in government from Harvard University in 1982, and his Ph.D. from Caltech in 1989. He has been a visiting associate professor at Caltech and Harvard, and has taught at the Summer Program, European Consortium for Political Research, Essex University, England, and the Summer Program, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, as well as the ESRC Oxford Spring School in Quantitative Methods for Social Research. In 2012 Professor Nagler was a Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute. Professor Nagler’s research focuses on voting and elections.

Professor Nagler published a series of articles, co-authored with R. Michael Alvarez, on multiple-candidate elections that have examined the relative importance of issues and the state of the economy to voters. Professor Nagler’s work on strategic voting in British elections (with R. Michael Alvarez) won the 1998 Durr award. Over the last 18 years he has also published a series of papers with Jan E. Leighley on the factors influencing voter turnout in the United States. They have just completed a book on voter turnout in the United States from 1972 to 2008. Professor Nagler has also published articles on the voting behavior of Latinos and women.

Professor Nagler is currently working on the impact of economic conditions on voting in presidential elections, and the impact of California’s Top 2 Election law.

Professor Nagler’s work has been supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation. In addition to his research, he established the world wide web site of the Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association, and served as president of the association from 2001-2003. Professor Nagler is a former editor of The Political Methodologist. An estimator he developed for the study of voter turnout, Scobit, is incorporated in the STATA statistical package. He is an Inaugural Fellow of the Society for Political methodology.

Professor Nagler has served as an expert witness on court casees on primary reform and election law, and has consulted for presidential campaigns and media surveys. Nagler has appeared as a guest or been interviewed on CNN, MTV, and Fox-News, as well as National Public Radio.



Joshua A. Tucker
Personal Site
Google Scholar
Politics and, by courtesy, Russian and Slavic Studies

Joshua A. Tucker is Professor of Politics and (by courtesy) Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University (NYU) and an Affiliated Professor of Politics at NYU-Abu Dhabi.  He is a Co-Director of the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) laboratory and recently completed a four-year term as an inaugural co-editor of the Journal of Experimental Political Science.  He is on the Board of the American National Election Study and is the incoming Director (starting September 1, 2016) of NYU’s Jordan Center for Advanced Study of Russia.

Professor Tucker specializes in comparative politics with an emphasis on mass political behavior in East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, including elections and voting, the development of partisan attachment, public opinion formation, and mass protest, as well as the use of social media in facilitating all forms of political participation.  He is currently finishing a book, co-authored with Grigore Pop-Eleches, on the effect of communist legacies on attitudes towards democracy, markets, social welfare, and gender equity in post-communist countries entitled Communism’s Shadow: Legacies and Attitudes. He is the author of Regional Economic Voting: Russia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, 1990-99 (Cambridge University Press, 2006). His work has appeared in numerous academic journals, including the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, the Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, Post-Soviet Affairs and the Annual Review of Political Science, and his opinions have been published in the International Herald Tribune, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and Al Jazeera English. In 2006, he was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award for the top scholar in the field of Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior within 10 years of the doctorate.

Professor Tucker is also one of the co-authors of The Monkey Cage, a political science and policy blog published at The Washington Post. The goal of the blog is to share what political science research has to offer for our understanding of important political developments and policy debates. The Monkey Cage was awarded the 2010 Blog of the Year award by The Week Magazine, becoming the first academic blog to receive this honor.  In addition, Time Magazine named The Monkey Cage a Top 25 Blog of 2012.

Graduate Students

031Drew Dimmery

Drew Dimmery is a Ph.D. student at the Wilf Family Department of Politics, New York University. Drew is interested in using machine learning and other computational techniques to improve experimental design, especially in internet or social media based experiments.


IMG_0448Sean Kates

Sean is a Ph.D. student at the Wilf Family Department of Politics, New York University. His studies focus on political behavior and party politics, particularly as they relate to far right parties in Europe. He holds bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Melanie Langer


Melanie Langer received a B.S. in Psychology with a focus on Philosophy from Yale University and an M.A. in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University. She is​ currently​ a ​doctoral student in ​Social Psychology​ at New York University. ​She is interested in values, beliefs, and preferences, how ideology motivates positions on particular issues and behaviors​​, and ​the mechanisms by which people’s attachment and resistance to certain attitudes and behaviors​ are altered​.​


MeganMegan MacDuffee Metzger



Megan Metzger is a PhD student in the Politics Department at NYU. Her research interests include social movements, political violence, public protest, revolution and nationalist politics. Her previous work has focused on Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and she has spent time in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bosnia, as well as in Spain. Megan holds a Bachelors in Anthropology and International Studies from Macalester College and a Masters in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


mungerKevinKevin Munger

Kevin Munger is a Ph.D. student at the Wilf Family Department of Politics, New York University. Kevin is interested in using machine learning and other computational techniques to study electoral politics, especially in Latin America. He is over 2 meters tall. Before coming to NYU, Kevin taught US Politics at la Universidad de Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile


Sergey Sanovich



Sergey Sanovich is a Ph.D. student in the Wilf Family Department of Politics at NYU. He studies institutions and policies that enable authoritarian regimes to stay in power. Specifically he is interested how governments manage potential threats from organised opposition through election fraud as well as formal electoral rules manipulation. In the SMaPP lab he studies tools employed to counter opposition activity in social media. Sergey holds Bachelor in Economics and Masters in Public Policy from Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.



Alexandra Siegel


Alexandra Siegel is a PhD student in the Department of Politics at NYU. Her research uses social media data, social network analysis, and textual analysis to explore mass political behavior in the Arab World. Prior to starting graduate school, Alexandra was a Junior Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a CASA Fellow at the American University in Cairo. She holds a Bachelors in International Relations and Arabic from Tufts University.


IMG_8141 (1)

Joanna Sterling
Personal Site


Joanna Sterling received her BA at the University of Pittsburgh in both Psychology and International and Area Studies. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Social Psychology at New York University. Joanna is interested in studying conceptions of ideology, ideological identification, and inter-party communication. Her other research interests include system justification theory, mass media communication, leader perception, and indirect means of communication.



Denis Stukal



Denis Stukal is a PhD student in the Department of Politics at NYU. He is doing research in the fields of Comparative Politics and Political Methodology. He is mainly focused on elections in Post-Communist countries, political communication and ideology in non-democratic regimes, and application of machine learning techniques to analysis of big data in the social sciences.

Post Docs

barberaPabloPablo Barberá
Personal Site



 Pablo Barberá is a Moore-Sloan Fellow at the NYU Center for Data Science. In July 2016, he will be joining the faculty of the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California as an Assistant Professor. He received his PhD in Political Science from New York University in 2015. His primary areas of research include social media and politics, quantitative methods, and electoral behavior and political representation. For more information and recent publications, check his website:

B&W51Andrew Guess

Andrew Guess is a postdoctoral researcher at SMaPP. He is at work on numerous projects with the lab, such as investigating the spread of rumors on Twitter and using social media data to study the dynamics of opinion change during the primary election season. His research explores the intersection of political psychology and political communication in the context of the online media environment. For more, click here.



Duncan Penfold-Brown


Ducan Penfold-Brown designed this website together with Peihong. He thinks science is awesome, and dictates all his code to a parrot he trained to type during his jungle adolescence (this last is not strictly true).

Interests: bioinformatics, self-organizing (multiagent, swarm, autonomic, self-adaptive) systems, cloud computing.

Yvan Scher

yvan scher is a programmer who likes humans (he assures us he does). he likes javascript. he likes architecting software. he dislikes buzzwords. he dislikes expectations. he is having a good time building data software at the SMaPP lab.