Faculty & Research

Thomas Talhelm

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and William Ladany Faculty Scholar

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5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Thomas Talhelm studies how culture affects the way we behave. One of his recent major projects was studying how rice and wheat agriculture have given northern and southern China two very different cultures. His research has appeared in a variety of publications including Science, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Thomas lived in China for five years teaching high school in Guangzhou as a Princeton in Asia fellow, as a freelance journalist in Beijing, and most recently as a Fulbright scholar and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. While living in Beijing, Thomas founded Smart Air, a social enterprise that ships low-cost air purifiers to help people breathe clean air without shelling out thousands of dollars for expensive purifiers.

Thomas earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Virginia and a B.A. with Highest Honors in psychology and Spanish from the University of Michigan.


2017 - 2018 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
38103 Strategies and Processes of Negotiation 2018 (Winter)

REVISION: Liberals Think More Analytically (More 'Weird') than Conservatives
Date Posted: Jan  07, 2015
Henrich and colleagues (2010) summarized cultural differences in psychology and argued that people from one particular culture are outliers: people from societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD). In this study, we show that liberals think WEIRDer than conservatives. In five studies with more than 3,000 participants, we found that liberals think more analytically (an element of WEIRD thought) than moderates and conservatives — even in China. We found that social liberals had more analytic perception in the framed-line task (Kitayama, Duffy, Kawamura, & Larsen, 2003) and categorized objects more analytically on the triad task, which asks participants to categorize a group of objects based on either abstract categories or intuitive relation (Ji, Zhang, & Nisbett, 2004). Social politics predicted thought style much better than economic and overall political identity. Studies 4 and 5 showed that briefly training people to think analytically made ...