The SaSI (Self and Social Insight) lab in the Psychology Department at Cornell University devotes itself to studying accuracy and error in human judgment.

Among its core topics, the lab studying such questions as: How well to people know themselves–and their competence and character? How and when do people successfully engage in self-deception? How good are people as amateur psychologists–trying to anticipate the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others? In essence, our central intellectual project is determining how well people adhere to the ancient admonition to “know thyself,” as well as show some wisdom about the ways of other people.

From this base of inquiry, the topics covered in the lab can range quite a bit. In work on economic games, the lab examines the extent to which choices that seem economic (e.g., such as whether I should gamble on a flip of a coin) actually hinge more on psychological factors, such as social norms and emotion, than on economic factors.

In psychology and law research, the lab focuses on diagnosing eyewitness accuracy—striving to determine which questions should be asked of the eyewitness to determine whether an identification is accurate or erroneous.

In more recent work, the lab has shown how people’s motives and desires literally shape what they see and hear in the physical environment around them. Thus, the world people believe they inhabit is importantly shaped by intrapsychic events occurring within themselves.

Various pages on this website introduce you to the cast of characters associated with the lab, as well as the work they have done.