Joel Thurston

Joel Thurston headshot
Senior Scientist, Social and Decision Analytics


Joel Thurston is a Senior Scientist and Research Manager with the University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute Social and Decision Analytics division. Joel received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Prior to joining the Biocomplexity Institute, he worked for the UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology and the U.S. Army Research Institute. Joel is interested in studying the interface of group perception and group dynamics, conceptualizing and measuring emergent group properties, and the science of team science. He seeks to apply measurement theory and social science research methodologies to develop analytic techniques for administrative data, addressing topics such as how intragroup processes, like cohesion and morale, contribute to individual and team performance. 

As a research manager, Joel leverages his background in administration and group dynamics to develop organizational infrastructure in support of team science within the Social and Decision Analytics division. His work in this area runs the gamut from examining the impact of meeting structure to the use of specific software platforms and how telecommuting policies impact team productivity.


Group dynamics, group perception, conceptual process mapping, measurement theory, research methodology, and the science of team science


Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of California Santa Barbara

B.S. in Psychology, University of Pittsburgh

B.S.B.A. in Business Management, University of Pittsburgh