User:Alexander L. Davis

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About Me

I am currently a research scientist in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. As a member of the Center for Climate and Energy Decision-Making, I'm most actively involved in research about human decision-making with respect to energy use and climate change. This work, mostly with Tamar Krishnamurti and Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, includes topics such as the design of field studies to test behavior change interventions, understanding the barriers to energy efficiency in both commercial and residential sectors, and preparedness, resiliance, and reliability of individuals and organizations in the face of climate change induced events (e.g., hurricanes).

My second line of research, stemming from my dissertation work with my advisor Baruch Fischhoff, looks at the psychology of experimental methods. Experiments often come out in unexpected ways, and this work has found that people tend to think unexpected results were caused by a flawed experiment, and, in turn, not worth sharing with the scientific community.

A third line of research looks at human altruism using the methods of experimental economics. This work with John Miller, Roberto Weber, and Sudeep Bhatia has specifically examined when and why people are willing to endure harm to prevent harm to others, finding greater altruism and egalitarianism when people make such a decision about harm than money.

Contact Info

Alexander L. Davis

Education (CV)

  • 2012, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, Behavioral Decision Research
  • 2009, MS, Carnegie Mellon University, Behavioral Decision Research
  • 2007, BS, Northern Arizona University, Psychology

Research and Lab Notebooks

Human Behavior and Electricity Consumption

What are the cognitive and motivational factors involved in understanding one's electricity consumption?

Setting a Standard for Electricity Pilot Studies

Do pilot studies of residential energy use meet the standards of clinical trials? Can they?

Davis, A., Krishnamurti, T., Fischhoff, B., and Bruine de Bruin, W. (2013). Setting a standard for electricity pilot studies. Energy Policy. In Press. [1]

Creating an In-Home Display

Can people learn from in-home electricity displays? What features of an in-home electricity display promote learning?

Krishnamurti, T., Davis, A., Wong-Parodi, G., Wang, J., and Canfield, C. (2013). Creating an in-home display: Experimental evidence and guidelines for design. Applied Energy, 108, 448–458.[2]

Predicting Participation in Energy Efficiency Programs

Can we predict who volunteers for energy efficiency programs?

Davis, A., Krishnamurti, T. (2013). The problems and solutions of predicting participation in energy efficiency programs. Applied Energy, 111, 277–287. [3]

One Good Trial

What does it take to do an energy efficiency trial up to FDA's standards?

Psychology of Methodology

What are the important psychological aspects of designing, implementing, interpreting, and reporting experimental research?

Communicating Uncertain Experimental Evidence

To what degree are unexpected data attributed to methodological error in foresight and hindsight, and how does this relate to decisions to share the data?

Davis, A., Fischhoff, B. (2013). Communicating uncertain experimental evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. In Press. [4]

Incentives, Error, and Data Sharing

Do incentives undermine decisions to share data when error in the data is possible?

Backdating Causal Theories

How do we evaluate theories that were not considered beforehand?

In the Problem Pit

How can laypeople be involved in solving scientific problems?

Human Altruism

How do humans behave when they can prevent harm to others by incurring it on themselves?

Generosity Across Contexts

Are we more altruistic when preventing harm to others?

Are Preferences for Harming Others Rational?

Are choices to inflict harm on ourselves or others consistent with the generalized axiom of revealed preferences?

  • [[User:| Notebook]]
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The File-Drawer Problem (Dissertation)

Do we share data when we should?

Other Publications

  1. Preparing for smart grid technologies: A behavioral decision research approach to understanding consumer expectations about smart meters


Useful links