Thomas J. Leeper

I am a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Institut for Statskundskab at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. I received my MA and PhD from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University, where I was a graduate fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and served as founding coordinator of the Northwestern Political Science Research Lab (PSRL). I previously received my BA from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a BA magna cum laude in Political Science and Global Studies (with an emphasis on European politics and society).

My research on individuals' public opinions primarily focuses on the role of information in politics. I am particularly interested in how mass attitudes reflect an interaction between the broader information environment - including the mass media and political elites - and individual-level attributes - namely citizens' expressed behaviors, psychological traits, prior knowledge and opinions, motivation, and affect. My dissertation focused on incorporating issues of information choice and over-time opinion dynamics into the study of political communication and opinion formation. At Aarhus, I am part of the POLIS Political Parties and Issue Strategies research group, where I study interactions between political parties and public opinion.

Using both survey and experimental methods, I attempt to study public opinion and political behavior from the perspectives of social and cognitive psychology, mass communication, and democratic theory. In addition to my substantive research interests, I am currently engaged in ongoing methodological projects related to nonrandom treatment assignment, internet-based experimentation, sample-related validity concerns, and interaction effects in observational studies.

I also actively develop an array of software for the R programming environment and participate in the rOpenSci and rOpenGov development projects, which aim to easily integrate science- and government-related data and applications into R.