Nathaniel Ratcliff

Nathaniel Ratcliff headshot
Research Assistant Professor, Social and Decision Analytics


Nathaniel is an Assistant Research Professor at the Social and Decision Analytics division (SDAD) of the Biocomplexity Institute & Initiative at the University of Virginia. Nathaniel’s research focuses on methodology, measurement, and integrating designed social science data with big administrative datasets. Trained as a social psychologist, Nathaniel received his PhD in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2016. His PhD dissertation examined the situations in which leaders were willing to relinquish power in the context of experimental lab groups. 

Nathaniel is currently working on projects investigating the social characteristics of Soldiers in the Army that predict performance and projects seeking to understand the nature of the skilled technical workforce in the United States. He has developed a novel methodological approach to the study and quantifying of resilience which is accompanied by an associated R package. Nathaniel also endeavors to serve as an analytic storyteller— synthesizing statistical, methodological, and conceptual analyses into actionable, evidence-based solutions for decision- and policy-makers. 

Full CV here


Research methodology, measurement and scale development, conceptual mapping, individual and unit performance, organizational climate, leadership, social power and relinquishing power


B.A., Psychology (Minor in Political Science), Miami University, 2009

M.S., Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, 2012

Ph.D., Psychology (Minor in Business Administration-Marketing), The Pennsylvania State University, 2016


Ratcliff, N. J., Mahoney-Nair, D. T. & Goldstein, J. R. (2019). The Area of resilience to stress event (ARSE): A new method for quantifying the process of resilience. The Quantitative Methods for Psychology15, 148–173, doi:10.20982/tqmp.15.2.p148

Lynn, B., & Ratcliff, N. J. (2018). Organizational climate annotated bibliography. (ARI Technical Report 1365). Fort Belvoir, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. DTIC#AD1059301

Ratcliff, N. J. & Vescio, T. K. (2017). The effects of leader illegitimacy on leaders and subordinates in the context of relinquishing power decisions. European Journal of Social Psychology, doi:10.1002/ejsp.2335

Ratcliff, N. J.& Vescio, T. K. (2013). Benevolently bowing out: The influence of leadership performance and self-construals on the willful relinquishing of power. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,49,978–983. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.06.003

Ratcliff, N. J., Hugenberg, K., Shriver E. R., & Bernstein, M. J. (2011). The allure of status: High-status individuals are privileged in social memory and modulate holistic face processing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,37,1–13. doi:10.1177/0146167211407210


Ratcliff, N. J., Nair, D. & Goldstein, J, (2019). arse: Area of resilience to stress event. R package version 1.0.0.


The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association Dissertation Award, 2015

The Penn State RGSO College Dissertation Support Award, 2014

Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Student Travel Award, 2014