Robb Willer is a Professor in the Departments of Sociology, Psychology (by courtesy), and the Graduate School of Business (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He is the Director of the Polarization and Social Change Lab and the Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.
Professor Willer’s teaching and research focus on the bases of social order. One line of his research investigates the factors driving the emergence of collective action, norms, solidarity, generosity, and status hierarchies. In other research, he explores the social psychology of political attitudes, including the effects of fear, prejudice, and masculinity in contemporary U.S. politics. Most recently, his work has focused on morality, studying how people reason about what is right and wrong and the social consequences of their judgments. His research involves various empirical and theoretical methods, including laboratory and field experiments, surveys, direct observation, archival research, physiological measurement, agent-based modeling, and social network analysis.
Willer’s research has appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. His work has received paper awards from the American Sociological Association’s sections on Social Psychology, Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity, Mathematical Sociology, Peace, War, and Social Conflict, and Rationality and Society.
His research has also received widespread media coverage including from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Science, Nature, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Scientific American, Harper’s, Slate, CNN, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and National Public Radio.
Willer was the 2009 recipient of the Golden Apple Teaching award, the only teaching award given by UC-Berkeley's student body.