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About Jan

Jan G. Voelkel is a PhD candidate in Sociology and a member of the Polarization and Social Change lab at Stanford University. 


Jan's research examines under which conditions micro-level preferences for more equality and unity translate into voting decisions that are crucial for systemic change. For example, Jan’s research has examined under what conditions American voters (i) refuse undemocratic elites, (ii) support women candidates for president, and (iii) back economically progressive politicians.


Jan co-led the Strengthening Democracy Challenge, a megastudy that tested 25 crowdsourced interventions for reducing anti-democratic attitudes and partisan animosity. 

Jan’s research has been published in journals, such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Human Behaviour, PNAS Nexus, and Psychological Science. His research has been covered by media outlets, such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and ARD (Germany).


At Stanford, Jan is the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow and a former Philanthropy and Civil Society Fellow and Stanford Impact Labs Fellow. Jan has won the Open Science Innovator Award, the Barbara and Sandy Dornbusch Award for Best Paper in Social Psychology, and the Leila Arthur Cilker Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistance.


Before his dissertation work, Jan earned a MA in Sociology from Stanford University, a MS in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Tilburg University, and a BS in Social Sciences from the University of Cologne. In his spare time, Jan enjoys moral dilemmas, plays racket sports, and plans political murder mystery parties.

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