Stephen Vaisey’s research focuses on where people get their ideas about what a “good life” looks like and what it means to be a “good person,” and to determine how this shapes the choices they make. Most generally, he examines why people do the things they do, and figures out the role of culture and cognition in explaining human behavior. He has also conducted research on 1970s communes, religion, and marijuana use, educational overqualification, gene-environment interactions, and the relationship between poverty and educational aspirations, among other topics.
He is director of the Worldview Lab at the Kenan Institute, an interdisciplinary collaborative research group that brings together faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students to work on shared empirical projects. Worldview Lab’s main goal is to better understand diversity in values, goals, and worldviews both internationally and within contemporary American society.
Stephen earned a BA in French and a BS in sociology from Brigham Young University, and an MA and PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.