Jordana Composto


I am a PhD candidate in psychology and social policy at Princeton University. I research collective and organizational change with a focus on the energy transition, using a combination of experimental field studies, cognitive process tracing in the lab, and big data text analysis. Implementation of energy transition technologies requires coordinated decision-making (e.g., about investment and siting) from a broad range of stakeholders and communities. My research focuses on two psychological constructs (trust and social norms) that sit at the intersection of group phenomena and individual-level decision-making. The first line of work investigates trust as a possible accelerant or barrier to the deployment of new technologies, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS). I use behavioral experiments to measure the effect of an information intervention on the local public’s acceptance of new CCS projects given different levels of trust. This will inform more effective practices for engaging with local communities to build trust while developing and deploying CCS projects. The second line of work develops and tests a cognitive theory of social norm perceptions and interventions. Social norms shape many types of individual and group behavior, including pro-environmental policy support and behaviors. My research applies cognitive process tracing methods to explore how attention is directed and shapes social norm perceptions and their effect on behavior. A more precise understanding of the construction of social norms will inform more effective intervention and policy design. Taken together, my work applies cognitive psychological methods and theory to inform the collective challenges of the energy transition.

At Princeton, I am advised by Professor Elke Weber. I am affiliated with the Department of Psychology and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. I received my B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2016, double majoring in Quantitative Social Science and Environmental Studies.

Follow my work on Google Scholar and OSF.