Assistant Professor of Political Sociology
Mike Reay is an expert on how knowledge and skills are socially distributed and sometimes hidden or misunderstood: how people often know more than they can express; how different people know different things; and how they can have false impressions of what other people know and do. He has published several articles examining what economic experts actually do, what people think they do, and how much influence they have in America today.
He is currently analyzing statistics on how much Americans think other people earn, looking at how accurate their predictions are, and seeing if those predictions depend on their own job, income, and education. In a separate project, he is comparing interviews with boxers and classical musicians to examine what it is like to become so skilled at something that one’s knowledge is at least partly ‘embodied,’ unconscious, and automatic. He has also been writing more generally about these phenomena of embedded/unconscious knowledge, what they imply about the nature of social life, and (surprisingly enough) how they help explain humor.
He received a B.A. from Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, and both an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.