Current Lab Members

Lab Director

David Dunning

David Dunning is a Professor of Psychology at The University of Michigan. An experimental social psychologist, Dr. Dunning is a fellow of both the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association. He has published over 135 scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and commentaries, and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan, Yale University, the University of Cologne (Germany), and the University of Mannheim (Germany). He has also served as an associate editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and as the Executive Officer of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Currently, he is President of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and the President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Motivation. He also serves on the Publication & Communication Board of the American Psychological Association.

His work focuses primarily on the accuracy with which people view themselves and their peers. In his most widely-cited research, he showed that people tend to hold flattering opinions of themselves and their decisions that cannot be justified from objective evidence, work that has been featured in numerous newspapers (e.g., New York Times), magazines (e.g., U.S. News & World Report ), radio (e.g., National Public Radio), and television (e.g., CBS Early Show). It has been the subject of a radio documentary by CBC Radio, as well as an essay by film director Errol Morris. It has even been mentioned in a Doonesbury cartoon.

This work on the self has been supported financially by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Templeton Foundation. It was recently reviewed in his book Self-insight: Roadblocks and detours on the path to knowing thyself (2005, Psychology Press).

He has also published work on eyewitness identification, depression, motivated distortion in visual perception, stereotyping, and behavioral economics.

BA – Psychology (1982) – Michigan State University
PhD – Psychology (1986) – Stanford University



Clint McKenna

Clint is a 5th year Ph.D. student in the Social Psychology program. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2015 with a BA in Psychology & Social Behavior. Clint studies how attitudes and beliefs motivate people to reason in a biased way. His current projects with the lab focus on how expertise influences politically motivated evidence evaluation and the impact of prior beliefs on judgment heuristics. In his free time, Clint is often frequenting dog parks in Ann Arbor with his Shiba Inu.

Yuyan Han

Yuyan is a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan. She received a BA in Psychology and a BA in Math at Cornell University and an MS in Psychology at the University of Michigan. She is interested, generally speaking, in judgment and decision making as well as metacognition. More specifically, her research examines how people incorporate their self-knowledge, beliefs, and emotions into a coherent logic that guides their judgment and behavior. Yuyan has two cats.

Julia M Smith

Julia is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Social Psychology program. She received a BS in Psychology and BA in Intercultural Studies from Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC) in 2015 and an MA in Psychology from the New School for Social Research (NYC) in 2018. She is interested in how people make sense of politicized negative events as well as the positive and negative events in their own lives. She is also interested in interreligious intergroup relations and self-perception. She likes playing Dungeons and Dragons in her free time and is teaching a Fall 2021 course in judgment and decision making using the game.

Lab Admin

Taylor Galdi

Taylor Galdi is the lab administrator for the SaSI lab. She received a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan (2019) and an MFA from Eastern Washington University (2021). Taylor is interested in the ways that lay perception rubs up against the law and hopes to pursue a JD/Ph.D. She is also the lab manager for the Psychology and Legal Studies (PALS) lab run by Dr. Roseanna Sommers at the University of Michigan Law School. For lab-related inquiries, feel free to email Taylor.

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