Stephen Vaisey

Stephen Vaisey

Professor of Political Science

The main goal of my research is to understand moral and political beliefs: what they are, where they come from, and what they do. I lead the Measuring Morality project, the goal of which is to understand how different ideas of morality fit together and influence politics and other domains of life.

I also work quite a bit on statistical methods for observational data, including panel datatreatment effects analysis, and multilevel modeling


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2008

Hitlin, Steven, and Stephen Vaisey, editors. Handbook of the Sociology of Morality. Springer, 2010.

Vaisey, S. “Why Things Matter to People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life by Andrew Sayer.” Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews, vol. 41, no. 5, 1 Sept. 2012, pp. 671–72. Manual, doi:10.1177/0094306112457769jj. Full Text

Vaisey, S. “The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.” Archives Europeennes De Sociologie, vol. 53, no. 3, 2012, pp. 448–51. Manual, doi:10.1017/S0003975612000422. Full Text

Vaisey, S. “The Theory of Cultural and Social Selection by W.G. Runciman.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 116, no. 4, Jan. 2011, pp. 1377–80.

Vaisey, S. “Fuzzy Set Theory: Applications in the Social Sciences by Michael Smithson and Jay Verkuilen.” Sociological Methods & Research, vol. 37, no. 3, Feb. 2009, pp. 455–57. Manual, doi:10.1177/0049124107306675. Full Text

Shanahan, Michael J., et al. “Environmental contingencies and genetic propensities: social capital, educational continuation, and dopamine receptor gene DRD2..” Ajs; American Journal of Sociology, vol. 114 Suppl, Jan. 2008, pp. S260–86. Epmc, doi:10.1086/592204. Full Text

Vaisey, S. “Emerging Moral Vocabularies: The Creation and Establishment of New Forms of Moral and Ethical Meanings by Brian M. Lowe.” Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews, vol. 36, no. 3, 1 May 2007, pp. 259–60. Manual, doi:10.1177/009430610703600332. Full Text

Vaisey, S. “Human institutions: A theory of societal evolution by Jonathan H. Turner.” Social Forces; a Scientific Medium of Social Study and Interpretation, vol. 83, no. 1, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy E - Oxford Open Option D, Sept. 2004, pp. 432–33. Manual, doi:10.1353/sof.2004.0129. Full Text

Vaisey, S., and L. Valentino. “Culture and choice: Toward integrating cultural sociology with the judgment and decision-making sciences.” Poetics, vol. 68, June 2018, pp. 131–43. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2018.03.002. Full Text

Boutyline, A., and S. Vaisey. “Belief network analysis: A relational approach to understanding the structure of attitudes.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 122, no. 5, Mar. 2017, pp. 1371–447. Scopus, doi:10.1086/691274. Full Text

Vaisey, S., and A. Miles. “What You Can—and Can’t—Do With Three-Wave Panel Data.” Sociological Methods and Research, vol. 46, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 44–67. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0049124114547769. Full Text

Dehghani, Morteza, et al. “Purity homophily in social networks..” Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, vol. 145, no. 3, Mar. 2016, pp. 366–75. Epmc, doi:10.1037/xge0000139. Full Text

Miles, Andrew, and Stephen Vaisey. “Morality and politics: Comparing alternate theories..” Social Science Research, vol. 53, Sept. 2015, pp. 252–69. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2015.06.002. Full Text

Victor, E. C., et al. “The Role of Moral Worldviews in Predicting Sexual Behavior From Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood.” Journal of Adolescent Research, vol. 30, no. 6, Jan. 2015, pp. 779–99. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0743558414561294. Full Text

Edelmann, A., and S. Vaisey. “Cultural resources and cultural distinction in networks.” Poetics, vol. 46, Oct. 2014, pp. 22–37. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2014.08.001. Full Text

Vaisey, S., and A. Miles. “Tools from moral psychology for measuring personal moral culture.” Theory and Society, vol. 43, no. 3, Apr. 2014, pp. 311–32. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s11186-014-9221-8. Full Text

Vaisey, S. “The "Attitudinal Fallacy" Is a Fallacy: Why We Need Many Methods to Study Culture.” Sociological Methods and Research, vol. 43, no. 2, Jan. 2014, pp. 227–31. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0049124114523395. Full Text

Johnson, K. M., et al. “Ideology-specific patterns of moral indifference predict intentions not to vote.” Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, vol. 14, no. 1, Jan. 2014, pp. 61–77. Scopus, doi:10.1111/asap.12039. Full Text


Selected Grants

The Spread and Impact of Moral Messages: Machine Learning, Network Evolution, and Behavioral Prediction awarded by University of Southern California (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

"The Social Context and Consequences of Transformative Experience" awarded by University of Notre Dame (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017