The Obradovich Laboratory
Our Research Approach
Dr. Obradovich's Laboratory applies tools from computational behavioral science, methods from statistical inference, and large social trace data to study a complex array of environmental and technological determinants of mental health. The overarching goal of the lab is to identify exposures that modify mental health -- both protective and harmful ones -- and to isolate the causal mechanisms underlying identified relationships to enable successful intervention. His prior studies have included the use of billions of social media posts to study how the weather alters online emotional sentiment as well as the use of global fitness band data to study how environmental factors alter human sleep patterns as a potential precursor to altered mental health status.
Research Program Highlights
What factors in the environment around us modify our mental health and wellbeing? To what extent are we affected, for example, by exposure to extreme temperatures, to significant natural disasters, or even just day-to-day variations in the weather? Further, how do our technological environments -- e.g. via the algorithms we interact with regularly -- alter our well-being over time? Our lab finds creative ways to measure and investigate these and related questions.
Our approach is shaped by causal inferential orientations to the specific questions under study, coupled with a focus on high quality measurement of the variables we're interested in. To such measures, we apply a broad suite of tools from the computational behavioral sciences, econometrics, experimental design, survey science, and epidemiology to study our questions of interest.
We have numerous projects in the works that aim to further our understanding of each of the main questions underpinning our work. Check back here for the latest updates as we publish new findings.
Dr. Obradovich earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2016 and completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He then worked as a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he taught a graduate course on data science and causal inference, before transitioning to work as a Senior Research Scientist and Principal Investigator at the Max Planck Society. Prior to joining LIBR he was Chief Scientist for the environmental nonprofit Project Regeneration. Dr. Obradovich is also a research affiliate with the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, is a core member of The Lancet Countdown research team, and has served as contributing author to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report on climate change and mental health. His research combines his interests in artificial intelligence, climate change, and mental health with his affinity for data science and computational methods. His work regularly appears in top academic journals and in major media outlets.
Laureate Institute for Brain Research
University of California Davis
MIT Center for Real Estate, and Sustainable Urbanization Lab
University of California, Irvine
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Chinese Academy of Sciences & MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Columbia University Data Science Institute
James H. Fowler
University of California, San Diego
University of British Columbia
Technical University of Denmark and Center for Social Data Science