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I grew up in a small town in Central Massachusetts that literally had more cows than people. A chance meeting over a neighboring campfire with an admissions officer on a summer camping trip had me announcing to my parents in the 7th grade my intention to go away to boarding school (the existence of which, before that day neither I nor my parents knew anything about). Gamely enough, my mom and dad made a bargain to pay for such schooling if I agreed to pay for college so off I went at the age of 14 to Northfield Mount Hermon School. This opportunity led to my matriculating at Columbia University, where a generous scholarship ensured I starved only occasionally and could buy a textbook or two every semester. Before I entered graduate school at Harvard (where I was overjoyed to find out they would pay me for the privilege, I wish my parents had lived to see that!), I had fun pursuing research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Harvard Institutes of Medicine, and the Harvard Psychology Department. My primary advisor was a brilliant researcher and wonderful man, named Daniel Wegner who passed away in the summer of 2013 of ALS. He nourished my love of research and my sense of humor, and I will forever miss him. Since earning my doctorate in 2007, I have had the honor of working as an Assistant Professor at my Alma Mater, Columbia University (and boy did I feel like a fraud when I first returned to the campus where I learned to do all those things teenagers learn to do when they are far from home). I live in New York with my husband Scott (whose biggest regret is that he isn’t Keith Richards) and my mini-Spicoli of a 6 year old son, John. I enjoy reading a novel when I should be sleeping, scooter riding with my son through Riverside Park, and roaming the city on foot, among other things you will have to get to know me better to find out.


CV

BETSY J. SPARROW

Department of Psychology
Columbia University
355 Schermerhorn Hall, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027
Email: sparrow@psych.columbia.edu
Phone: 617-460-5374
Website: betsysparrow.com

RESEARCH INTERESTS

The central theme of my research has been focused on the impact of social interaction on the experience of agency. I have examined this from the most basic level of how our facility in intentionality detection has inadvertently been applied as a mechanism for agency judgment. I have also moved up a level to applied research by looking at how the experience of agency impacts other cognitive processes such as belief, memory, empathy, and morality in a variety of social contexts from face to face situations, goal conflicts in one’s own mind, and the interaction of human cognition and technology (namely, the internet).  

Specific research interests over the past several years have involved the following: transactive memory and the omnipresence of knowledge contained in the internet and how that has changed memory organization at both the individual and collective level; how shared reality is influenced by online social interaction; how belief (or critical evaluation) in material presented online is influenced by how the experience of agency is implied or not in performing searches; how creative thinking and problem solving may be enhanced through the external accessibility of online information.

EDUCATION

Ph.D. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
        Social Psychology, 2007
        Advisor:  Daniel M. Wegner, Ph.D.

M.S. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
        Social Psychology, 2004
   
B.A.         Columbia University, New York, NY
        Philosophy and Women’s Studies, 2001

EXPERIENCE

Assistant Professor, Columbia University
New York, NY (September 2007-present)

Set-up and lead a research laboratory in social science (Sparrow Lab): With 2 primary graduate students, 9 secondary graduate students, and over 60 undergraduates. Supervise and brainstorm all research activity and design, IRB approvals, data analysis, data presentations and write-ups of results; advise students regarding research plans, courses, teaching, dissertations and post-graduate plans
Evaluate 300 applications per year for the next years graduate student cohort of 10-12 students
Director of Undergraduate Studies: Help plan and advise coursework and requirements for students in the college. Evaluate student records for graduation requirements
Committee on Instruction: Evaluate and approve future courses in psychology and neuroscience and behavior
Serve on dissertation committees (over 10 theses thus far)
Serve on hiring committees for new faculty (2 searches successfully completed)
Write and design research plans for 3-5 year grant applications for research funding (NSF Cyberlearning, Google, Dept. of Education, etc.)

Graduate Research Assistant, Wegner Lab, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA (2002-2007)

Collaborate on research design on subjects such as: Conscious will, knowledge deactivation, authorship indicators and priming
Code study ideas in Medialab and Direct RT; develop macros to organize data; utilizing SAS, STATA and SPSS to analyze behavioral and psychophysiological data
Trained in Virtual Reality research design utilizing Python through Vizard for social interaction studies
Head Teaching assistant for Social Psychology course (2003-2007): Coordinate the team of teaching assistants, create and grade exams, lead review sessions

Graduate Research Assistant, Wendy Berry Mendes Psychophysiology Lab, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA (2004-2007)

Design psychophysiology experiments (impedance cardiography, electrocadiography, skin conductance, etc. using Biopac hardware and AcqKnowledge and Mindware software) on challenge and threat states using subliminal priming. Data analysis of large data sets, using SAS, of challenge and threat concomitants. Presentation and write-up of results
Teaching assistant for research methods: In section teaching help students design IRB protocols, design and run experiments and appropriately analyze data

Research Assistant/Lab Manager, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA (2000-2002)
Supervisors: Daniel Wegner, Ph.D. & Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D.

Setup and maintenance of lab space and equipment; literature searches and assistance with manuscript preparation; development and implementation of research protocols; collection and analysis of data; assistance with grant proposals; creation of subject and author index for psychology text and popular psychology book


Research Assistant, NMR Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA (2001-2002)
Supervisor: Itzak Aharon, Ph.D.

Analysis of fMRI data utilizing AFNI and SPM

Research Assistant/Lab Assistant, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY (1997-1998)
Supervisor: William Breitbart, M.D.

Preparation of grant proposals; triage of requests for patient consultation; management of fellowship program; literature searches and manuscript preparation; preparation of PowerPoint slides for speaking engagements; development of departmental manual

PUBLICATIONS

Sparrow, B. (in press). Should we worry about modern day technology and the impact on cognitive abilities? Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Sparrow, B. (in press). Where are your intentions?  Authorship processing in co-action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Sparrow, B. (in press). Editor of Special Issue of Social Cognition on Goal Conflict. 

Sparrow, B., Riddle, T.*  (in press). Intentions, coactors, and errors in agency judgments. In B. Eitam & P. Haggard (Eds.), Human Agency: Functions & Mechanisms. Oxford University Press.

Sparrow, B., Chatman, L.* (2013). Social cognition in the age of the internet: Same as it ever was? Psychological Inquiry, 24, 1-19.

Sparrow, B., Chatman, L.* (2013). We’re not burning down the house: Synthesizing pre-Internet, current findings, and future research on social cognition and being online. . Psychological Inquiry, 24, 211-218. [Reply to commentaries.]

Chatman, L., Sparrow, B. (2012). The feeling of doing across levels of analysis – The effects of perceived control on learning. Horizons of Psychology. 

Sparrow, B., Liu, J., Wegner, D.M. (2011): The Google effect on memory: Cognitive consequences of information at our fingertips. Science, 333: 776-778.

McMahon, K*., Sparrow, B., Chatman, L., & Riddle, T. (2011). Driven to distraction: Impacts of distractor type and heuristic use in unconscious and conscious decision making. Social Cognition, 29: 683-698.
Chatman, L., Sparrow, B. (2010). Principles of Learning and Interpersonal Interaction in the Classroom. Psiholoska Istrazivanja (Serbian, translated by corresponding author, original title: Principi ucenja i medjuljudske interakcije u ucionici).

Wegner, D.M., & Sparrow, B. (2007).  The puzzle of co-action. In D. Spurrett, D. Ross, & H. Kincaid (Eds.), Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition in Social Context. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 

Sparrow, B., & Wegner, D.M. (2006).  Unpriming:  The deactivation of thoughts through expression.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91: 1009-1019.

Wegner, D.M., & Sparrow, B. (2004).  Authorship processing. In M.S. Gazzaniga (ed.), The New Cognitive Neurosciences, Third Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Wegner D., Sparrow, B., & Winerman, L. (2004). Vicarious agency:  Experiencing Control over the movements of others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86: 838-848.  

Wegner, D., Fuller, V., & Sparrow, B. (2003). Clever hands: Uncontrollable intelligence in facilitated communication. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85: 5-19.

Breitbart, W., & Sparrow, B. (1998). Management of delirium in the terminally ill. Progress in Palliative Care 6:4, 107-114.

Manuscripts under Review

Sparrow, B. & Chatman, L. The Sidewalk Dance: Agency and the ease of intentionality detection. PNAS.

Chatman, L.*, & Sparrow, B. The illusion of control and ruminating on the experience of agency interacts with memory performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 

Sparrow, B., & Kantor, R.*, Liu, J.*  Mechanisms of unpriming: Exploring memory systems and goal conflict and their impact on deactivating thoughts. JPSP.

Cornwell, J.F.M*., Sparrow, B., & Higgins, E.T. Will not, lest ye judge: Agency intensifies moral judgments of others.

Manuscripts in Prep

Sparrow, B., & Liu, J.*  I will not think about it:  Automatic unpriming in bias based responses.

PRESENTATIONS

2014

Sparrow, B. Creative problem solving and online transactive memory. Collective Intelligence Conference, MIT, Cambridge, MA.

Sparrow, B. Keynote Address (cognition and online technology). Humana Corp. Louisville, KY.

2013

Sparrow, B. Opening Keynote, Masie Learning Conference, Orlando, FL.

Sparrow, B. Google effect and beyond: Investigations into the interactions between cognition and technology. Invited talk at New School for Social Research, New York, NY.

Sparrow, B. Google effect and beyond: Investigations into the interactions between cognition and technology. Invited talk at Yale University Current Directions in Psychology Series, New Haven, CT.

Sparrow, B. Google effect and beyond: Investigations into the interactions between cognition and technology. Invited talk at Teacher’s College Neuroscience Lecture Series, New York, NY.

Sparrow, B.  The upside of information accessibility: Offloading details enhances creative problem solving. Symposium presentation at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Chatman, L.* & Sparrow, B.  Greater agency reduces automatic belief in presented information. Poster presentation at the SPSP Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Riddle, T.* & Sparrow, B. Representing and controlling other minds. Poster presentation at SPSP Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

2012

Sparrow, B.  Everything you ever wanted to know about unpriming but were afraid to ask. Invited talk at New York University, New York, NY.

Sparrow, B.  Everything you ever wanted to know about unpriming but were afraid to ask. Invited colloquium talk at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY.

Sparrow, B.  Everything you ever wanted to know about unpriming but were afraid to ask. Invited talk at CUNY Graduate Center Cognitive Science group, New York, NY.

Sparrow, B. The Google effect: Cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips. Keynote Speaker, Shell Learning Conference, The Hague, Netherlands.

Sparrow, B.  The Google effect and beyond: Investigations into the interactions between cognition and technology. Invited talk, St. John’s University, Queens, NY.

Sparrow, B. Memory Roundtable. Institute for the Future. San Francisco, CA.

Sparrow, B. Google Effects on Education: How technology impacts Learning. Learning & Brain Conference: The Web Connected Mind. How Technology is Changing the Brain, Attention and Learning. Washington, DC.

Sparrow, B. Google effects and beyond: Investigations into the interactions between cognition and technology. Mercator Foundation. Dortmund, Germany.

Sparrow, B. Google effects and beyond: Investigations into the interactions between cognition and technology. Joint Special Forces University, Hulburt Field, FL. 

2011

Sparrow, B.  The Google Effect: Cognitive Consequences of having information at our fingertips. Keynote Speaker, Learning 2011 Masie Conference, Orlando, FL.

Sparrow, B.  Everything you ever wanted to know about unpriming but were afraid to ask. Invited talk at Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Riddle. T.A. & Sparrow, B. The perception of imaginary agents in creative writing. Poster presented at the 13th annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX.

Chatman, L., & Sparrow, B. The effects of the sense of agency on memory. Poster presented at the 13th annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX.

Sparrow, B. Thinking under technology’s influence.  Talk and discussion with the Alumni Class of 2001, Columbia University. NY, NY.

Sparrow, B. The experience of agency in social interaction.  Invited talk at San Francisco State University, CA.

Sparrow, B. The mechanisms of unpriming,  Invited talk at the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands.

2010

McMahon, K., & Sparrow, B. The benefits of tuning out: iPods and their effects on decision making.  Poster presented at the 12th annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.

2009

Sparrow, B.  Agency in social interaction.  Conference on Agency & Joint Attention. New York, NY.

Silva, C., Sparrow, B., & Wegner, D. M. (2009, November). How does deliberate self-harm block empathy in observers? The role of goal appreciation in empathy blocking. Poster accepted for presentation at the 43rd annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New York, NY.

Sparrow, B. Mechanisms of unpriming.  Invited talk at NYU, New York, NY.

Sparrow, B. The Google effect: The cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips.  Talk given at the Social Cognition Preconference at the 11th Annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Tampa, FL.

2007

Sparrow, B., & Wegner, D.M.  Authorship processing in coaction.  Invited talk at Princeton University.

Sparrow, B., & Wegner, D.M.  Authorship processing in coaction.  Invited talk at UCLA Department of Communications.

Sparrow, B. & Wegner, D.M.  The Google Effect:  The cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips.  Poster presented at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA.  

2006

Sparrow, B., & Wegner, D.M.  Authorship processing in coaction. Invited talk at Columbia University, New York, NY.

2005

Sparrow, B. & Wegner, D.M.  The experience of authorship in co-action.  Poster presented at the 6th Annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA.  
 
Wegner, D. M., & Sparrow, B.  Unpriming: The deactivation of thoughts.  Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA.

2004

Sparrow, B.  Controlling uncontrolled intelligence.  Paper presented as part of master’s defense to the Harvard University Psychology Department, Cambridge, MA.

Sparrow, B.   The experience of authorship in co-action.  Paper presented at the research workshop in social psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

2003

Sparrow, B. & Wegner, D.M.  Undeniable knowledge in random response generation.  Poster presented at the 4th Annual Meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, Savannah, GA.

Sparrow, B.   Telling what we know:  The inopportune expression of knowledge.  Paper presented at the research workshop in social psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Wegner, D. M., & Sparrow, B.  Authorship processing.  Cognitive Neurosciences III Summer Institute, Lake Tahoe, CA.

2002

Wegner, D. M., & Sparrow, B. Uncontrollable intelligence: Does knowledge inevitably inform action? European Association for Experimental Social Psychology, San Sebastian, Spain.

MEDIA

Television
PBS Newshour
MSNBC
ABC World News
The Colbert Report
Russian Television: The Alyona Show
BBC

Radio (over 75 appearances, including):
NPR
BBC
WNYC
WGN Chicago
OZ Australia
Newstalk 1010
4BC Brisbane Australia
WSJ Radio
CBS Radio News

Print (over 600 articles, including):
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Time Magazine
Newsweek
CNN
APS Observer
Scientific American
Discovery Channel
Wired

HONORS AND AWARDS

Google Research Award, unrestricted gift, $57,200
Finalist, Presidential Teaching Award 
Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Fellowship, 2002-2004
Summer Institute in Cognitive Neurosciences Fellowship, Dartmouth Medical School, Summer 2004
Advanced Training Institute, Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior Fellowship, University of California Santa Barbara, Summer 2004
Student Travel Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, January 2005
Harvard University, Derek Bok Teaching Fellow Award for Research Methods, January 2006


PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS AND SERVICES

American Psychological Society
American Psychological Association
Society of Personality and Social Psychology
Ad Hoc Reviewer Science
Ad Hoc Reviewer Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Ad Hoc Reviewer Journal of Experimental Psychology
Ad Hoc Reviewer PLOS One
Ad Hoc Reviewer NSF Cyberlearning