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Rengin B. Firat

Assistant Professor    ,

Ph.D.Sociology, University of Iowa
M.A. Sociology, University of Iowa
B.A. Sociology, Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey


Social Psychology, Values and Morality, Well-being, Social Neuroscience


Rengin B. Firat is an Assistant Professor of Global Studies, Sociology and Neuroscience at Georgia State University. She is also an associate researcher at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Science Research at National Research University Higher School of Economics in Russian Federation. She has previously held a post-doctoral Researcher position at the Evolution, Cognition and Culture Laboratory at University of Lyon in France.

Dr. Firat’s works cuts across sociology and neurosciences to investigate how the human mind organizes and motivates social behavior, particularly focusing on values, inter-ethnic relationships and political behavior. Her dissertation focused on the role of moral emotions in perpetuating race and class based inequalities, integrating brain imaging via use of functional Magnetic Resonance Scanner and lesion technique studying patients with brain damage with sociological survey and vignette methods. She is the co-PI, with Steven Hitlin (PI, University of Iowa), of an ongoing interdisciplinary project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative comparing the U.S., France, Turkey and S. Korea. In this project she is investigating how internalized moral codes and values anchored in social identities trigger socio-political action, combining functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging with nationally representative surveys, in collaboration with researchers at University of Iowa, Istanbul University and Hanyang University. She is also the PI in another cross-national project examining the relationship between communitarian self, values and subjective well-being in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her other projects focus on investigating publicly available data sets like the European Social Survey and the World Values Survey, collecting new nationally representative, cross-national survey data to understand the role of values and inter-ethnic coalitional perceptions in stress and well-being outcomes.

Dr. Firat’s research has been published in outlets like Social Science Research, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Journal of Social and Political Psychology and Advances in Group Processes and earned her awards like Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, Emerging Diversity Scholar Citation from the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan and Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowship from the University of Iowa. Her teaching interests include social psychology and cognition, global sociology, research methods, values and morality, social inequality and social capital.

Dr. Firat has served on numerous diversity committees like the Council on the Status of Women and Turkish Student Association at University of Iowa. She is a member of the American Sociological Association, International Sociological Association and Society for Cultural Evolution.

Dr. Firat has obtained her Ph.D. with area specializations in social psychology and social stratification from University of Iowa Department of Sociology in 2013. She has received her M.A. in Sociology from University of Iowa in 2009 and her B.A. in Sociology from Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey in 2006. She is a native Turkish speaker and is fluent in English. She also has a basic understanding of French and German.