Dan Lopresti

Humanity at the Heart of Problem-Solving

Annual Report 2019

Lehigh scholars are motivated by a desire to make meaningful contributions to improve lives around the world, by confronting the challenges we face as a society and by providing the insight and practical knowledge needed to overcome them.

Computer Science and Engineering Professor Dan Lopresti recently helped organize a two-day conference at the United Nations, which brought together top researchers, policy makers, social scientists and tech experts—as well as victims of exploitation—for a deep dive into the topic of using artificial intelligence in the fight against human trafficking. This work will continue on as the International Code 8.7 collaboration.

“Finding a solution to this problem is not just a technical one. It also involves social and political policy. As a researcher, if you don’t understand this, you could come up with a solution that you think is elegant mathematically but is totally irrelevant in the real world. So that’s why we wanted to be in the same room with the social scientists and the policy makers.”

Humanity at the Heart of Problem-Solving | Annual Report 2019


Lehigh Professor Finds Female Leaders Have the Edge in Some Crisis Situations

A study by researchers at Lehigh and Queen’s University Belfast is first to examine why and when a leadership trust advantage emerges for female leaders during organizational crises. The researchers found that trust established by female leaders practicing strong interpersonal skills results in better crisis resolution in cases when outcomes are predictable.

They describe this “female leadership trust advantage” in a new paper published in 2019 in the Psychology of Women Quarterly.


Confronting Stereotypes

Experimental social psychologist Valerie Jones Taylor examines how stereotypes impact interracial interactions, academic performance and perceptions of physical spaces, such as in schools and neighborhoods. Recently, she has focused on understanding how people engage in interracial interactions.

If people can engage in interracial interactions well—without fear of being judged stereotypically and the negative downstream consequences this concern engenders—the assistant professor of psychology found that it reduces prejudice, reduces intergroup anxiety and increases empathy we have for other groups. The minute we pull back from those interactions, we don’t get those positive outcomes, she says. To this point, other work in her lab shows that providing people from different racial backgrounds opportunities to “get to know” each other reduces these concerns and increases willingness to engage in interracial interactions, both in the moment and in the future.

Taylor has been implementing this work into virtual reality contexts to understand ways to improve people’s ability to engage in interracial interactions more confidently and competently.


Understanding Infant Attachment

New research finds that caregivers need only “get it right” half the time when responding to babies’ need for attachment to have a positive impact on a baby. What really matters in caring for babies may be different than commonly thought, says Lehigh researcher Susan S. Woodhouse, an associate professor of counseling psychology and an expert on infant attachment. Securely attached infants are more likely to have better outcomes in childhood and adulthood.

In 2018, Lehigh faculty produced:
1,352 Journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings
98 Books authored or edited
2,008 Scholarly presentations, including 554 talks/keynotes
279 Creative works, exhibitions and performances
238 Written works and interviews for lay media