I'm a PhD student in experimental psychology at Oxford. I currently live in England, but I've also lived in Brussels, Boston, and Los Angeles. I'm originally from Seattle.
There are two avenues of work I do. The first is my academic research in psychology and cognitive science. My main research interests are summarized below, and you can read a more in-depth synopsis here. The other is my writing and other projects geared toward a broader audience, which includes the following:
This is my show in which I interview eminent scientists, thinkers, and writers about the personal side of their intellectual journey. Each episode is about getting a glimpse into the person behind the idea. These episodes come out once a week on Tuesdays. Some of my favorite guests include Steven Pinker, Julia Shaw, Paul Bloom, Susan Fiske, Mark Granovetter, and Chantel Prat. Available anywhere you listen to podcasts.
This is my travel show about the observations of a psychologist abroad. In the first season, we go to ten different locations -- from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, to a road trip through the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, to Christmas in Myanmar -- to get a sense of the place and its people. It's a vein of writing that's fueled by my not-so-secret obsession with anthropologists.
I write about psychological research, the history of ideas, and human-driven narratives. My pieces have appeared in Nautilus, Scientific American, Psychology Today. I also publish pieces on my blog. These are some of my favorites.
My newsletter comes out every other week on Fridays. It's called Dear Luke. It's the most personal writing I do, and in it I detail some sort of challenge I've been facing recently and how I've begun to address it. This is the best way to keep up with my writing and podcasts as they are released.
One of the biggest problems we face today in society is that we have a hard time making sense of people who are different from ourselves. If someone comes from a different background -- whether it's in terms of culture, race, politics, or religion -- it's much harder to make sense of the way they see things than someone with whom you have all this in common. My research is about how we make sense of people who are different from ourselves: when we do it well, when we fail, and how we can be better.
The basic thrust of my work on this (which is in its very early stages) is that understanding others doesn't take fancy mental gymnastics, being good at "putting yourself in their shoes," or a sophisticated algorithm for what psychologists call "theory of mind." Instead, it's a function of whether or not you're willing to put in the effort. Are you going to spend the time to seek out conversations with those people? To read their books? To give some thought to where they might be coming from? It's that willingness to engage that allows us to see things from another's perspective rather than any special capacity for empathic insight.