MSU faculty combines statistical analysis with the social sciences



Mississippi State’s Ben Porter joins the College of Arts and Sciences this fall as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Porter uses advanced statistics and data analysis to research military and veteran health issues as well as romantic relationships.


Porter has an ongoing collaboration with fellow Department of Psychology assistant professor Mary Dozier. Together, they have examined whether indicators of hoarded conditions were associated with increased risk of fatalities in fires in Mississippi in a recently published article “Prevalence of Probable Hoarding and Associated Consequences at the Scene of Mississippi Fires, 2009-2019” (Public Health in the Deep South, 2021). This work is the first scientific study quantifying this phenomenon in the United States. It demonstrated that approximately 2% of structural fires in Mississippi had indicators of hoarded conditions and fires with such indicators were twice as likely to have at least one death associated with them than fires without such indicators. Together, Dozier and Porter are seeking funding from FEMA to examine this phenomenon nationally.


Porter’s research often consists of collecting and examining information from large data sets, which he uses to develop research projects focused on problems like highway safety, social media trends and psychological disorders.


His current research focuses on examining military and veteran health, specifically identifying veterans from specific conflicts on Twitter and examining differences in family strengthening programs between military and civilian couples.


“I like being able to use publicly available data to answer current knowledge gaps because it gives these data new life and really increases the return on the investment of time, money and effort spent collecting these data,” Porter said.


Porter’s expertise in data analysis positions him to craft innovative and perceptive research projects. Backed by the investigative power of applied statistics, his work has the potential to discover trends and patterns that might otherwise remain unseen.


MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,000 students, 323 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs, 14 master’s programs, and 27 undergraduate academic majors offered in 14 departments. MSU is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a “Very High Research Activity” doctoral university, the highest level of research activity in the country. MSU is one of only 120 schools to hold the designation. For more details about the College of Arts and Sciences, visit


MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

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