Current Research

My research is at the intersection of social and cognitive psychology, and concerns the nature of moral judgment, especially as it relates to reasoning, emotion, and social cognition. I am currently working on projects (in various stages of completion) related to how moral character inferences can explain preferences not to take medication, why over-justifying innocence in response to an accusation of wrongdoing makes you seem like a worse person, when and why people prefer others to make moral decisions thoughtfully, and disgust felt in response to members of political outgroups. For more detailed information about any of my work, please feel free to contact me by email.
Research Interests

Emotion and Reasoning in Moral Judgment
Recent perspectives on moral psychology have downplayed or denied the role of deliberate thinking in producing our moral judgments, characterizing them as largely automatic and emotional. It is my view that this rejection of reasoning goes too far, and much of my research has demonstrated that our moral judgments depend, to an important extent, on how hard we think about them. I have also critically examined evidence for a special connection between moral judgment and the emotion of disgust. In my view, anger is the primary condemnatory emotion, and disgust is largely peripheral to our judgments of immoral acts, though it may play a role in our evaluations of people's moral character.

Moral Character
I am one of a growing number of psychologists to examine how we make and use moral judgments of people's character, not just their actions. In particular, I have examined how moral character judgments operate in everyday social cognition. I have found that moral character plays a very important role in how we evaluate others in our social worlds, and that good moral character may be the only umambiguously positive attribute a person can possess. I have argued that moral judgments of actions and moral judgments of people are quite distinct processes, and neither one can fully explain the other.

Mental Representations of the Moral Domain
I have recently taken an interest in how people represent elements of the moral domain, especially moral violations, at the cognitive level. What features do we associate with counter-normative acts? What categories do we use to sort these acts and make sense of the infinite complexity of what we call "morality"? How do different kinds of moral offenses relate to one another, at the conceptual level? Answers to these sorts of foundational questions about how we conceptualize morality can help us better understand ourselves as moral agents, and can inform new theories in many areas of moral psychology.

Meta-Science and Replicability
I am an advocate for transparency and replication in science, and so I also study meta-scientific questions relating to new approaches to replication, and the presumed objectivity of scientific findings. By turning the scientific method inward to study science itself, we can improve our methods and move forward in developing a more reliable, open, and cumulative scientific enterprise.