The Faculty & Staff Board of Advisers are Yale University faculty and staff members who support the mission of the YHC—as Humanists or as allies. Advisers often participate in the larger Humanist community at Yale and New Haven in a variety of ways, such as speaking at public lectures hosted by the YHC or having informal dinners with Yale undergraduates.
Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. Dr. Bloom has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author or editor of six books, including How Children Learn the Meanings of Words, Descartes’ Baby, and How Pleasure Works. His newest book, Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, was released in November, 2013.
Matt Croasmun is Lecturer of Theology & Humanities at Yale University, Director of Research & Publication at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, and Staff Pastor at the Elm City Vineyard Church. He teaches the Life Worth Living course at Yale which invites students to wrestle deeply with the visions of the good life articulated by various religious and non-religious philosophical traditions. He holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University, a M.A.R. in Bible from the Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in Music from Yale College.
Mary Dansinghani is Chaplain and Coordinator of Spiritual Services at the Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, working with the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Raised in an Air Force family, she attended 12 different schools in 12 years. Mary went through several careers before attending Yale Divinity School, including elementary school teacher and trust administrator, and she has a son, daughter, and two granddaughters. She studied Ayurvedic Spirituality at UCONN Medical School under Dr. Guha and then finished at the Ayurvedic School in Jaipur, India. Mary loves being Chaplain and Coordinator of Spiritual Services at CHMHC, where she leads groups, visits in-patients, and meets one-on-one with clients.
Yarrow Dunham is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale and affiliated faculty in the Cognitive Science program, as well as the director of the Social Cognitive Development Lab. He received his B.A. in philosophy from UC Santa Barbara and his doctorate in developmental psychology from Harvard University. Yarrow’s research focuses on intergroup social cognition, with a special focus on questions like: 1) What explains the human proclivity towards group affiliation and its consequences, including stereotyping, prejudice, and group-based conflict? 2) What psychological “levers” might be able to defuse these tendencies? 3) How does group membership affect so many other areas of cognition, such as face perception, moral judgment, cooperation, and memory? 4) How do these processes play out across diverse cultures in which the individual and the group are conceptualized in very different ways? This work has appeared in leading journals in developmental, social, and cognitive psychology, and Yarrow has spoken widely at universities and professional societies. His work has received attention in popular media outlets such as the Washington Post, Time, and Scientific American Mind.
Lance H. Linke is an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the Center for Emotional Intelligence. He completed his initial graduate studies in philosophy exploring the dimensions of moral decision making. Thereafter, he trained as a developmental and educational psychologist studying the influences of emotions on learning and decision making. His research investigates affect-regulation and interpersonal functioning from a prevention science perspective. Dr. Linke has worked internationally with departments and ministries of education and health to create interdisciplinary, collaborative frameworks that focus on the importance of emotional development in educational environments. His current research focuses on early assessment and prevention strategies for building resilience and emotion regulation skills in parents and children. These strategies often employ mindfulness, meditation, yoga and martial arts as low iatrogenic intervention approaches to increase mood and affect regulation. He has studied these approaches across a range of development from pregnancy to adulthood. He continues to evaluate the development of emotion regulation, and the many variables that influence this, with respect to physiological, interpersonal, and intrapersonal domains.
Dr. Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. He is the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. He is the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. He is also a senior fellow and Director of Science-Based Medicine at the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine, and a board member of the Society for Science-Based Medicine. He also authors the NeuroLogica Blog, which covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. He is the Executive editor of Science-Based Medicine, a blog dedicated to issues of science and medicine. Dr. Novella has completed two 24 lecture courses with the Teaching Company: Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us and Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills, both available for purchase as audio CD, video DVD or download. He is also an editor and co-author on a series of e-Books on Science-Based Medicine.
David Rand is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University and the director of Yale University’s Human Cooperation Laboratory. He received his B.A. in Computational Biology from Cornell University in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Systems Biology from Harvard University in 2009. David’s research considers (1) what prosocial and antisocial decisions people will make in particular situations and social environments; (2) the cognitive mechanisms that determine how these decisions are actually made; and (3) the ultimate explanations for why our decision-making processes have come to function as they do. In doing so, he combines empirical observations from behavioral experiments with predictions generated by math models and computer simulations using evolutionary game theory. David’s work has received widespread attention from a range of media outlets, including NPR, the BBC, the Economist, Scientific American, Wired, the New Scientist, London’s Daily Telegraph, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Discover, the Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times. He has also written for the popular press, including pieces in Wired and the New Scientist. He was name to Wired magazine’s Smart List 2012 of “50 people who will change the world,” and chosen as a 2012 Pop!Tech Science Fellow.
Laurie Santos is an associate professor of psychology at Yale University and the director of Yale University’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory. Laurie received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University and her PhD in Psychology from Harvard. Her research explores the evolutionary origins of human cognition by studying the cognitive capacities present in non-human primates. She has investigated a number of topics in comparative cognition, including primates understanding of others minds, the origins of irrational decision-making, and the evolution of prosocial behavior. Laurie’s scientific research has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Forbes, The New Yorker, New Scientist, Smithsonian, and Discover. She has also won numerous awards, both for her scientific achievements and for her teaching and mentorship. She is the recipient of Harvard University’s George W. Goethals Award for Teaching Excellence, Yale University’s Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Junior Faculty, and the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research. She was recently voted one of Popular Science Magazine’s Brilliant 10 Young Minds.
Steve Stearns is the Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. Over the ten years that he taught Principles of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior at Yale, he introduced roughly a thousand Yale undergraduates to evolutionary biology and its consequences. The grandson of a Methodist minister and raised in the Congregational Church, he preserves a broad interest in the religions of the world because of the insights they give into the human condition. The two texts to which he most often returns are the Mahabharata and Chuang Tzu. He recalls the Dhammapada with affection but last read it in its entirety more than twenty years ago. He has read the Christian Bible from cover to cover, parts of it many times. He has dipped into the Koran but has by no means mastered it. The same can be said of his acquaintance with De rerum natura, which he knows less well than he does Homer and Gibbon. He is familiar with Shakespeare’s major plays and has written on evolutionary biology as a context in which to interpret King Lear. His scientific reputation is based on his contributions to life history evolution, to evolutionary medicine, and to his role in building institutions, including the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, the Tropical Biology Association, and the Foundation for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, and in founding two journals, the Journal of Evolutionary Biology and Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. In 2011 he was awarded the DeVane Medal for distinction in undergraduate teaching.