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  • Faculty

  • Hammad Sheikh

    Postdoctoral Fellow


    Office Location
    G - 80 Fifth Avenue

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    Hammad Sheikh


    Why do people decide to kill or die for a cause? Why would anyone volunteer for combat or a suicide mission? Even if the conflict ends in your side's favor, won't everyone in your group benefit; regardless of if they personally put their lives on line?

    Hammad Sheikh is a social psychologist who uses the scientific method to answer those questions. He studies sacred values in high conflict zones (e.g., Iraq, Palestininan territories) using innovative mixed-mythologies. His work combines interviews with combatants, surveys with populations affected by violent conflict, carefully designed experimental studies, and computer modeling to examine and simulate the psychological processes underlying decision making in violent group conflicts. His work has been published in leading academic journals, featured in the popular press, and has contributed to briefings to the State Department and the Department of Defense. He also consults on monitoring and evaluation of CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) programs. Hammad Sheikh teaches History and Politics of Terrorism and Statistics.

    Degrees Held

    PhD in Social Psychology 2014, The New School for Social Research

    Psychologie Diplom 2008, Free University of Berlin

    Professional Affiliation

    New School for Social Research

    Oxford University

    Artis Research

    Recent Publications

    Gómez, Á., López-Rodríguez, L., Sheikh, H., Ginges, J., Wilson, L., Waziri, H., ... & Atran, S. (2017). The devoted actor’s will to fight and the spiritual dimension of human conflict. Nature Human Behaviour, 1.

    Sheikh, H., Gómez, Á., & Atran, S. (2016). Empirical evidence for the devoted actor model. Current Anthropology, 57(S13), S204-S209.

    Ginges, J., Sheikh, H., Atran, S., & Argo, N. (2016). Thinking from God’s perspective decreases biased valuation of the life of a nonbeliever. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(2), 316-319.

    Atran, S., & Sheikh, H. (2015). Dangerous terrorists as devoted actors. In Evolutionary perspectives on social psychology (pp. 401-416). Springer International Publishing.

    Atran, S., Sheikh, H., & Gomez, A. (2014). Devoted actors sacrifice for close comrades and sacred cause. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(50), 17702-17703.

    Sheikh, H., Ginges, J., & Atran, S. (2013). Sacred values in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict: resistance to social influence, temporal discounting, and exit strategies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1299(1), 11-24.

    Sheikh, H., Ginges, J., Coman, A., & Atran, S. (2012). Religion, group threat and sacred values. Judgment and Decision Making, 7(2), 110.

    Research Interests

    Ethno-political conflict, religion, sacred values, radicalization, judgement and decision making, social cognition

    Awards And Honors

    2014 SPSP Graduate Student Travel Award

    2013 Senior Vice President for Student Services Alma Mater Award

    2011 New School Award for Outstanding International Leadership


    Research Gate

    Current Courses

    Adv Statistics Lab

    Adv Statistics Lab (Paris Spring 2021)

    Advanced Statistics

    Advanced Statistics (Paris Spring 2021)

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