Wändi Bruine de Bruin
Research Area Leader in Behavioral Decision-Making and Senior Research Fellow
Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Ph.D., is a Provost Professor of Public Policy, Psychology, and Behavioral Science in USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and USC Dornsife’s Department of Psychology. She leads the Behavioral Science and Well-Being Policy initiative that aims to bring together behavioral decision researchers from across USC. She is affiliated with various research centers at USC, including the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, the Center for Economic Research, and the Center for Sustainability Solutions.
Dr. Bruine de Bruin’s research uses insights from psychology and behavioral science to understand how people form their risk perceptions and make associated decisions. She also aims to design and evaluate risk communications and interventions that inform those decisions. She will lead CREATE’s Behavioral Decision-Making theme area, which is dedicated to advancing understanding of the dynamic relationships between public response, societal consequences, and risk and crisis communication in the event of a disaster.
Dr. Bruine de Bruin has published more than 120 peer-reviewed publications on the topics of judgment and decision-making, as well as risk perception and communication, in journals targeting multiple disciplines. She is a fellow of the UK’s Academy for Social Sciences, the Psychonomic Society, and the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement. She is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Risk Research, Decision, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Medical Decision Making, Psychology and Aging, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology:Applied. She previously co-edited special issues on decision-making competence for the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making and Frontiers in Psychology, as well as on health risk communication for Current HIV Research.
Dr. Bruine de Bruin received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Decision Research and Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1998. Her interdisciplinary research interests are reflected in her career trajectory. From 1999-2002, she was a post-doc in the Technology Management department at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. From 2002-2012, she joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was affiliated with the Department of Social and Decision Sciences and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. In 2012-2019, she was Professor of Behavioural Decision Making (awarded with a leadership chair) at the Leeds University Business School (UK), where she served as director of the Centre for Decision Research and deputy director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate. Although Dr. Bruine de Bruin did not move to USC full-time until January 2020, she has been working with colleagues in USC’s Center for Economic and Social Research since 2014.
One ongoing line of Dr. Bruine de Bruin’s research involves collaborations with climate scientists and engineers to understand public perceptions of climate change, mitigation, and adaptation. Previous work with the UK Met Office examined how professionals (mis)interpret visualizations of climate projections, and offered suggestions for improvement taken from the graph design literature. A current project with the United Nations Foundation examines how people (mis)interpret terms that are commonly used in climate change communications, including “mitigation,” “adaptation,” and “carbon neutral,” and suggests potential strategies for improvement from the risk communication literature.
With colleagues in USC’s Center for Economic and Social Research, Dr. Bruine de Bruin is currently running a national COVID-19 tracking survey to assess risk perceptions and protective behaviors, age differences in mental health, and political polarization during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. The data from this COVID-19 tracking survey are publicly available.
Dr. Bruine de Bruin has recently received notification of a grant award from Lloyd’s Register Foundation for a project that aims to understand how people around the world form their perceptions of risks associated with infectious diseases, accidents, violence, cyber threats, and other topics. For this project, she will analyze data from the World Risk Poll, which has been conducted by the Lloyd Register Foundation and Gallup in a total of 140 countries.
Dr. Bruine de Bruin contributed her expertise in psychology and behavioral science to various expert panels. She previously served on the National Academy of Sciences expert panel on Communicating Science Effectively. She currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences committee on mask use and respiratory health.