About Us

Short Biographies

Michael Bruter is Director of the Electoral Psychology Observatory. He is a Professor of political science at the LSE and Director of the Electoral Psychology Observatory. He has developed a distinguished research profile in the sub-field of voters’ psychology, political behaviour, and political science research methods. Bruter has been the recipient of over €5 million in research grants to lead projects in electoral psychology, first time voters, and electoral hostility (why people hate each other because of elections and how to resolve the resulting rifts), using a broad range of innovative quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Bruter has also served as expert witness on cases pertaining to voters’ psychology tried by the Irish High Court and Irish Supreme Court, given keynote speeches to the EU-Canada meeting on youth participation, the Council of Europe-European Commission cross-group on young voters, events at the European Parliament and the House of Lords, and advised and worked with multiple Electoral Commissions. Professor Bruter has also been invited to give the prestigious Annual Science and Technology Keynote Lecture to the European Parliament on 24 January 2024. In November 2022, Professor Michael Bruter and Dr. Sarah Harrison were awarded the ESRC Impact Prize for Outstanding International Impact. Bruter’s latest book, co-authored with Sarah Harrison is entitled “Inside the Mind of a Voter” was published by Princeton University Press in 2020. He has also published another seven books, and numerous articles in such journals as Comparative Political Studies, Public Choice, Nature: Human Behaviour, American Behavioural Scientist, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, etc and numerous chapters on voters’ psychology, political behaviour, identity, and social science research methods.

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Sarah Harrison is the Deputy-Director of the Electoral Psychology Observatory. She is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Government at the LSE and Deputy Director of the Electoral Hostility Observatory (ELHO). She is a leading scholar in the fields of political psychology, extreme right politics, and youth political behaviour. Her recent publications include the book Pathologies of Democratic Frustration: Voters and Elections Between Desire and Dissatisfaction (published by Palgrave Macmillan in February 2023), the book Inside the Mind of a Voter (Princeton University Press, with Michael Bruter), Youth Participation in Democratic Life (published in 2016, with Cammaerts, Bruter, Banaji, and Anstead), articles in Comparative Political Studies, American Behavioural Scientist and Parliamentary Affairs. She was also editor of a special issue of the journal Societies on “Electoral Psychology”. Her research has been recognised by prestigious awards and honorable mentions from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Michael Young Award, and the political psychology section of the American Political Science Association. In November 2022, Dr. Sarah Harrison and Professor Michael Bruter were awarded the prestigious ESRC Impact Prize for Outstanding International Impact. Dr Harrison has also advised multiple Electoral Commissions worldwide and worked as an expert or authored reports for multiple prestigious international organisations including the European Commission, Council of Europe, the Committee of the Regions, the European Youth Forum, and All Parties Parliamentary Group on the Vote at 16 in the British Parliament.

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Laura Serra is a Research Officer at the Electoral Psychology Observatory. Laura’s research focuses on how demographic characteristics, particurlarly age and generations, affect political behaviour and attitudes. Before joining the EPO, Laura was a Lecturer in Politics and Research Methods at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she also completed her PhD in Political Science. Her doctoral research examined the age-gap in British partisanship through the perspective of intergenerational value change, the expansion of higher education, the effect of targeted partisan appeals, and the increasingly delayed transition into adulthood.

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Sandra Obradović is an Associate Researcher at the Electoral Psychology Observatory. She is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University. Her research examines the nature of group identities and the implications this has for public opinion and political participation. Sandra is co-investigator to the Horizon-funded project “OppAttune”, which is aimed at developing new tools to manage extremism. Her recent work focuses in particular on the role of perspective-taking in politics, and how engaging with the mind of the ‘other’ can shape intergroup relations in the aftermath of a polarizing election.  She has published articles in European Journal of Social Psychology, British Journal of Social Psychology and Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, and has edited a volume on the role of temporalities in shaping human thought and behaviour (Imagining Collective Futures. 2018, with Constance de Saint-Laurent & Kevin Carriere). Besides research and teaching, Sandra is an avid fan of crime documentaries and coffee, preferably consumed simultaneously.

Asli Ceren Cinar is a PhD student in Political Science in the Department of Government at London School of Economics and Political Science. She received a BA in Economics from Bogazici University and an MA in Economics at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. Her research focuses on the effect of political candidates’ physical traits on voting behaviour using experimental and empirical methodologies.


Associate Members

Adam Ozer is a former Research Officer at the Electoral Psychology Observatory and currently an associate member. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Houston and his research focuses primarily on source credibility, partisanship, public opinion, and experimental methodology. His recent work focuses on experts in political media, and how subtle cues can help facilitate the flow of important political information in a partisan polarized environment.

Mukulika Banerjee is currently finalising a monograph entitled Cultivating Democracy (OUP: New York) based on 15 years of ethnographic data of rural voters and their multivalent engagement with elections and voting activities in West Bengal, India. It is part of her wider interest in the cultural meanings of democracy in South Asia, especially India, and in political anthropology more generally. Her most recent book Why India Votes? (Routledge 2014), the outcome of a major ESRC Grant, breaks several new grounds both conceptually and methodologically: it examines the reasons why despite varying odds, India’s voter graph continues to rise, making India the largest electoral democracy in the world. Voters across 12 states were asked the same set of questions, and their responses compared and woven into a socio-politico-anthropological narrative on the sacredness of participative political behaviour in a country marred by extreme income inequality, skewed access to resources, and dystopic infrastructural developments, intensified by an asymmetrical rural-urban divide. As part of this interest, Mukulika also prepared a BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Sacred Election’ for the Indian national elections in 2009; and a grant from the Indo-European Networking Programme in the Social Sciences entitled EECURI (Explanations of Electoral Change in Urban and Rural India) has allowed her to expand this analysis to cover state and Panchayat elections. Her applied knowledge of anthropological methods to political behaviour led her to be the founding Series Editor of the hugely successful ‘Exploring the Political in South Asia’ (Routledge) which is a platform for scholars to publish political-ethnographic studies on India.

Eri Bertsou is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of St Gallen. She received her PhD in Government from the London School of Economics Department of Government, in 2016. Her doctoral research focused on political distrust in established democracies and her postdoctoral project studies technocratic politics, technocratic attitudes among citizens and challenges to party-based representative democracy. Her work has been published in West European Politics and the European Political Science Review among others, and she expects the publication of the volume The Technocratic Challenge to Democracy in spring 2020. Her research belongs to the fields of comparative political behaviour and political psychology, specifically citizen attitudes towards democracy, populism and technocracy, representation and partisanship in a comparative perspective. She has been involved with the research initiative in Electoral Psychology at the LSE since 2012 and also holds an MSc in Political Communication from the LSE, a BA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick. Eri was recently awarded an Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship Grant on “Varieties of expertise” from the Swiss National Foundation (2022-2027).

Florian Foos is an Associate Professor in Political Behaviour in the Department of Government at the LSE. He uses field experiments to study the effects of campaign methods and interpersonal interactions on political persuasion, mobilisation and political activism. His work has appeared in the AJPS, the QJPS, and PSRM, among other outlets. He is a member of EGAP, and teaches widely on experimental methods and political behaviour.

Sara Hobolt is the Sutherland Chair in European Institutions and professor in the Department of Government at the LSE. She is the Chair of the European Election Studies (EES), and the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded project EUDEMOS: Constrained Democracy: Citizens’ Responses to Limited Political Choice in the European Union. Sara has published extensively on elections, referendums, public opinion and European Union politics. Her most recent book (co-authored with Catherine De Vries) is Political Entrepreneurs. The Rise of Challenger Parties in Europe (Princeton University Press. 2020).

Mathias Poertner is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research lies at the intersection of political behavior, comparative politics, and democratic representation, with a regional focus on Latin America and Europe. In his work, he uses a variety of methods, including experiments and fieldwork intensive qualitative techniques, to study the crucial role of group identities for political participation social inclusion. His research has been published in leading journals and he is author of Creating Partisans: The Organizational Roots of New Parties in Latin America (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press) and Native Bias: Overcoming Discrimination against Immigrants (with Danny Choi and Nicholas Sambanis), published by Princeton University Press.

Sophie Lecheler is Professor of Political Communication at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. Her work focuses on digital political journalism, emotions, and news effects. She has published in a wide range of international journals, such as Communication Research, Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, Journalism Studies, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Media Psychology, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journalism, Communication Monographs, Communication Yearbook, and the International Journal of Press/Politics. She currently functions as Associate Editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics and Vice-Chair of the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Association.

Annick Masselot is a Professor of Law at the School of Law of University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Her research interests notably focus on gender equality and equal treatment, social and employment law, reconciliation between work and family life, diversity in the sciences, democratisation and public representation. Professor Masselot is the author of Reconciling Work and Family Life in EU Law and Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and Caring responsibility in EU law and policy: who cares? (Routledge, forthcoming 2020) both with E. Caracciolo di Torella. She has co-edited Importing EU Norms? Conceptual Framework and Empirical Findings (Springer, 2015) and Perspectives on Commercial Surrogacy in New Zealand: Ethics, Law, Policy and Rights (Centre for Commercial and Corporate Law 2019). She is the author of over 20 reports to the European Commission and co-editor of the Journal of Common Market Studies.


Previous and Current Research Assistants

Srishti Ghulani is pursuing MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology at the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at LSE. She is currently working with the team to collect data about first-time voters in India. Srishti’s research interests revolve around formal and informal knowledge production systems, political institutions, and social identity. If you happen to bump into her on campus, feel free to offer her a cup of coffee.

Emma Heijnen is a second year Politics and Philosophy student at the LSE. She grew up in a Dutch-Italian household, and is fluent in Italian, Dutch, and French.  Emma is interested in how the subconscious absorption of information, such as through social media, influences voting behaviour. In her free time, she enjoys competitive debating, exploring galleries and restaurants. So if you want a London food recommendation, make sure to hit her up.

Agnese Moroni is a 2023 graduate in Politics from the LSE. Growing up between Italy and the United States, she has fostered an academic interest in comparative politics and welfare administration. She will be working with the team to study digital electoral psychology among voters throughout electoral cycles. She has conducted prior research with the charity, Support Through Court, as well as through the LSE consulting project with Digital Lions focusing on improving and innovating the organization’s use of social media. Apart from research, she enjoys playing volleyball with the LSE team and wandering around London’s parks when it’s sunny.

Claire Cappaert is a Public Policy and Russian & East European Studies graduate from the University of Chicago. Her academic interests are in democratic governance and transitional justice; she is currently writing her undergraduate thesis on the relationship between paradiplomacy and the political climates of democracies and autocracies. At UChicago, Claire is on the editorial board of the undergraduate political review The Gate and the student advisory board of the Institute of Politics.

Vida Fatemi is a Government graduate from the LSE. She is currently working with the team on a project to capture the concept of electoral atmosphere. She is particularly interested in the role of social media in facilitating and influencing political debate among voters.

Quido Haškovec is a 2022 Politics and Philosophy graduate from the LSE. Growing up in the Czech Republic he has adopted a particular research interest in democracy development in the post-communist states, as well as lately in the unfortunate trend of democratic backsliding and autocratization. He has recently conducted an in-depth policy analysis report on the approach of the European Union to these issues. Apart from dealing with overtly ambitious oligarchs, he enjoys playing chess and reading post-modern fiction.

Eponine Howarth is primarily collecting and inputing data for our Almanac of Electoral Ergonomics. Eponine is a lawyer with an interest in death penalty and international public law. She is a double graduate from the LSE with a BSc in Government and International relations and an LLB in Law, before obtaining an LLM from the University of Cambridge. She has worked as a Research Assistant for several LSE-based project and was also part of the Editorial Board of the LSE Undegraduate Political Review. Eponine has published articles with the McGill International Review, the Queen Mary Philosophy Society Student Journal, the earth rise journal, the LSE Undergraduate Political Review and the LSE Newspaper ‘the Beaver’ on international relations, European politics and criminal justice. Eponine is a longstanding (and very successful) forward for the LSE Women’s Football Club and the LSE Futsal Club. Just like our Observatory, “Epo” is also coincidently her nickname!

Courtney Leung is a graduate from the University of Chicago, where she majored in Environmental Science and Psychology. She is interested in studying climate change and conservation, as well as positive psychology and how people view emotions like happiness. Beyond research, Courtney enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and family, and learning new languages.

Sophia Michel is a Political Science and Economics graduate from the University of Chicago. Her Colombian-Chilean-Swiss heritage has tied her identity and passions with the world of politics. She is currently working with the team to conduct family focus groups with first-time voters. When she is not working to improve electoral democracy, you can probably find her reading, writing, or playing sports.

Luke Mansillo is a PhD Candidate and Sessional Academic in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. He is completing is doctoral thesis on the role of ethnocentrism in Australian electoral competition. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in political science and a Master of Social Research from the Australian National University. For the Guardian he built a model to aggregate polls for the 2016 Australian federal election. In 2018, he was an associate in the Department of Government at Harvard University. For four years Luke was a research assistant at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney where he worked on data collection and analysis; in 2017 he wrote and fielded public opinion surveys in six countries. Despite studying European politics as an undergraduate Luke speaks Japanese. He is substantively interested in elections, political behaviour, political psychology, political geography, public opinion and parties in Australia and other advanced democracies in addition to quantitative social research design. Luke has published several book chapters and articles in the Australian Journal of Political Science and Journal of Australian Political Economy.

Ginny Moruzzi is a BSc Politics and Economics and MSc Development Management graduate from the LSE . Of Italian origin, Ginny has participated in a report on citizens’ settled status for New Europeans. In addition to academic questions, Ginny’s talents range from competitive tennis to the piano.

Rania Putri is a Government and Economics graduate from the LSE. Owing much to her upbringing in Qatar, her primary research interests lie in the ever-changing political landscape of the Middle East—particularly those pertaining to the younger generation’s political activism. On her off days, she enjoys reading science fiction and composing badly-written romantic poetry.

Goksu Zeybek is a graduate from the University of Chicago, where she studied Economics and Mathematics. On campus, Goksu is an Executive Board Member at The University of Chicago Behavioral Economics Association and enjoys exploring how human behavior can be influenced by different social and political contexts. In her free time, she likes to play tennis and watch space documentaries.

Anne-Sophie Neyra, often going by Sophie, is a curious individual in her final year of Politics and Philosophy at the LSE. She has had had brief stints in communication and journalism before joining Flamingo’s Human Insights team in May 2021. She spent her formative years between Uruguay, Argentina, and Poland. This allowed her to develop her strong language skills and enhance her adaptability to new cultures. Sophie’s undergraduate dissertation uses qualitative research in the form of focus groups and individual interviews and focuses on the way in which narratives of electoral hostility are structured within polish society.

Zita von Bonin is a Master Student at Sciences Po Paris. She holds a BSc from LSE in Politics and Philosophy. After being awarded the Best Dissertation Prize by the LSE Department of Government in 2023 for her work on electoral hostility in the intergenerational context, her research interest now remain within the areas of intergenerationality, electoral hostility, and political culture in Europe. She is fluent in German, French, and English.