Dr. J. Nathan Matias (@natematias) organizes citizen behavioral science for a safer, fairer, more understanding internet. A Guatemalan-American, Nathan is an assistant professor in the Cornell University Department of Communication and field member in Information Science.
Nathan is a 2022-23 Lenore Annenberg and Wallis Annenberg Fellow in Communication and Siegel Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. In the summer of 2022-23, he is also an visiting associate research scholar at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
Nathan is founder of the Citizens and Technology Lab, a public-interest research group at Cornell that organizes citizen behavioral science and behavioral consumer protection research for digital life. CAT Lab has worked with communities of tens of millions of people on reddit, Wikipedia, and Twitter to test ideas for preventing harassment, broadening gender diversity on social media, responding to human/algorithmic misinformation, managing political conflict, and auditing social technologies. Nathan is also pioneering industry-independent evaluations on the impact of tech platform policies in society.
From 2017-2019, Nathan was an associate research scholar at Princeton University in Psychology, the Center for Information Technology, and Sociology. In 2017, Nathan completed his Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab with Ethan Zuckerman on the governance of human and machine behavior in an experimenting society (video) (thesis). Nathan also spent several years as a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Before MIT, Nathan worked in tech startups that have reached hundreds of millions of phones, helped start a series of education and journalistic charities, and studied English/postcolonial literature at the University of Cambridge and Elizabethtown College. His writings have appeared in The Atlantic, PBS, the Guardian, FiveThirtyEight, and other international media.
Nathan has received numerous honors in academia, industry, and nonprofits. He is recipient of the Nelson Award from the Association for Computer Machinery and the Linda Tischler Award from FastCompany, where his work has been honored twice in the Innovation by Design awards. He has held scholarships and fellowships at the Aspen Institute, St John’s College Cambridge, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Einhorn Center at Cornell. Matias has also received several awards for nonfiction writing and documentary media.
Nathan’s work is regularly covered by international media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR All Things Considered, WIRED, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Boston Globe, Canadian Broadcasting Company, FastCompany, Fortune, Chronicle of Higher Education, Nieman Journalism Review, and the Columbia Journalism Review, to name a few.
When not doing research, teaching, and organizing, Nathan enjoys reconnecting with his indigenous heritage, cycling, sailing, facilitating gatherings for creative learning, having conversations about technology and faith, and working on projects that make you laugh, then think.