I use insights and tools from the social and behavioral science to create theoretically and empirically-informed product strategy and design. I am a behavioral scientist and consultant with expertise in social psychology, personality theory and measurement, judgment and decision-making, people analytics, sustainability, close relationships, ideology, gender, and wellness and positive psychology.  I am broadly interested in tech, health and wellness, sustainability, culture and gender, public policy, and education.

As an applied scientist I choose ideas and products that aim to improve individual and community well-being. Some example are:

  • As a user and design researcher, I help companies uncover and refine their key research questions, and then use my 15 years of research experience to deploy studies that answer them. I tend to work with innovation teams on generating and evaluating new products (Airbnb, Casper Sleep), but I've also worked with early stage or stealth startups (Academia, Blue Owl), design agencies (Fuseproject), service companies (PG&E), and data companies (TargetSmart).
  • As the Research Director at See Change Institute, I worked to understand the human component of climate change and sustainability.  Primarily, I worked with utilities to design and evaluate behavioral interventions that motivate people to reduce their energy use at home and at work.  
  • As the co-founder and Chief Scientist at Character.io I leveraged recent developments in personality psychometrics to build a scientific, scalable, mobile-first platform for talent acquisition and development. I had tons of fun starting a companing and working on everything from product and brand strategy, to prototyping and testing, to raising venture capital and building strategic partnerships.
  • As one of the creators of YourMorals, I built and directed one of the earliest and largest web platforms for psychology research. Without any marketing, we built a community of over 1 million registered users which have given us data on thousands of variables across 300+ surveys and experiments. These data have led to dozens of scientific papers, cited thousands of times, and are featured in my colleague Jon Haidt's NYT Bestseller The Righteous Mind.
  • With Target Smart, a political data company, I worked on adding psychographic predictors to a predictive model of voter opinion to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of political campaigns. With the Lear Center for Media Research, I designed and conducted a program evaluation study of a media campaign for public education. And with Conscious Partnership, I created a tool to help romantic partners assess and improve the state of their relationship and future plans.

In addition to research, consulting, and teaching, I write and give talks about psychological science for a general audience. I am passionate about science outreach and have volunteered for various prosocial organizations, like KPCC (a public radio station in Southern California) and The Story of Stuff Project.


Connect with me via sena.koleva@gmail.com or www.linkedin.com/in/senakoleva/