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Who We Are

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Stanford SPARQ is a behavioral science “do tank” at Stanford University. We build research-driven partnerships with industry leaders and changemakers to combat bias, reduce disparities, and drive culture change. We work in criminal justice, economic mobility, education, health, and media + tech. Learn more about our work.

The Founding of SPARQ

Nalini Ambady

When Nalini Ambady joined the Stanford University Department of Psychology in 2011, she successfully lobbied for seed funding to start a new center. She wanted not just a think tank, but a “do tank” that would help policymakers, educators, and nonprofit leaders apply social psychology’s insights and methods to their work. She enlisted social psychologists Hazel Rose Markus and Jennifer Eberhardt as her associate directors, and hired Alana Conner to guide strategy and communications.

For a year, we worked with Stanford’s Social Area faculty to hone our mission, vision, and goals and to prototype our programs. We initially called the project The Lewin Center, after social psychology pioneer Kurt Lewin, but then crafted a more straightforward moniker: Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions, or SPARQ.

To read on: The article continues in the APS Observer. It was written by Alana Conner, the founding executive director of SPARQ.