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Jehan Sparks, Ph.D.

Jehan is a Senior UX Researcher at Instagram (Meta). She studies decision making, behavior change, and well-being.

Jehan received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology (with a minor in Quantitative Psychology) from UC Davis in 2018. Along the way, she completed Ph.D. coursework in Agricultural and Resource Economics (specializing in econometrics), ultimately earning masters degrees in both Economics (2013) and Psychology (2015) from UC Davis. She received her B.A. in Economics and Philosophy (with honors) from Columbia University in 2010. She completed postdoctoral training at UCLA Anderson School of Management, USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, and the University of Cologne.

Jehan studies how our judgments and decisions are biased by factors that aren't relevant to the problem space. For example, her research has shown how people get stuck in negative ways of thinking (and how to help them get unstuck), and how people hold biased ideas of what they like in romantic partners (that don't correspond to how they evaluate partners IRL). Given these insights into bias, she also studies how to nudge people to make smarter and healthier choices.

Jehan’s research uses online, laboratory, and field experiments to understand cognitive biases. This work is intended to advance our understanding of judgment and decision making while having implications for the types of real-world choices people make every day.

Jehan previously worked as a Behavioral Scientist at Calm, a Research Scientist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and a Research Associate at NERA Economic Consulting. She is an identical twin, an avid distance runner, and enjoys exploring the food scene in San Francisco, traveling, politics, hiking, and playing with her niece and nephew.

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Pronouns: she/her/hers

How to pronounce Jehan: juh-HAHN

photo by: Eddie Hernandez  

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