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Neil Lewis, Jr. is a behavioral scientist who studies how social interventions and policies can motivate behavioral changes to promote equitable outcomes in society.

Lewis is an assistant professor of communication and social behavior at Cornell University, and assistant professor of communication research in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. He also co-directs Cornell’s Action Research Collaborative, an institutional hub that brings together researchers, practitioners, community members, and policymakers to collaborate on projects and initiatives to address pressing equity issues in society. Lewis received his B.A. in economics and psychology from Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan.

Lewis’s research examines how people’s social contexts and identities influence how they make sense of the world around them, and the implications of those meaning-making processes for their motivation to pursue a variety of goals in life. He is interested in the consequences of these processes not only for individuals, but also for the communities, organizations, and societies those individuals are embedded in; he is particularly interested in using insights from research findings to improve educational, health, and environmental outcomes for individuals and societies.

Outside of academia, Lewis is a publicly engaged scholar and science communicator. He writes about the application of social and behavioral science research in policy and practice at FiveThirtyEight. He also works with policymakers on efforts to put science into practice to address pressing societal issues.

Lewis’s work has been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including: the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, the SAGE Young Scholar Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and Cornell’s Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy.

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