welcome

laura niemi, aSSISTANT PROFESSOR
Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATIONS, CHARLES H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, SC JOHNSON COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
Cornell University

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NEWS
May 2020 in Cognitive Science “Moral values reveal the causality implicit in verb meaning.” Laura Niemi, Joshua Hartshorne, Tobias Gerstenberg, Matthew Stanley, Liane Young.

In this research, we apply a simple task from psycholinguistics to investigate the role of moral values in causal attribution. We find that group-oriented moral values predict a shift in attribution of causation to people affected by harm, rather than harm-doers.

IN PRESS at Social Cognition “Linguistic evidence for the dissociation between impurity and harm: Differences in the duration and scope of contamination versus injury.” Laura Niemi, Cristina Leone, Liane Young

We combine language analysis and social-moral psychology to articulate the defining features of impurity and harm. Contrary to some accounts, the evidence indicates that impurity and harm are substantially distinct in cognition and moral judgment: unlike harm, impurity connotes damage that spreads continually across space and time.

STUDYING Why and how people judge each other, decide what is right or wrong, make morally relevant choices, and live out their values.

BIO

My graduate training was at Boston College in Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience. I received my Ph.D. in 2015, for research on moral values advised by Dr. Liane Young at the Morality Lab.

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After grad school, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University (May 2015 – May 2017) with advisors Dr. Steven Pinker and Dr. Jesse Snedeker, involving an interdisciplinary project called The Psycholinguistics of Morality.

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I completed a second postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong in the Department of Philosophy and Dr. Felipe De Brigard in the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University, where I worked on projects on causal cognition, moral decision-making, and social epistemology (June 2017 – June 2018).

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At University of Toronto, I completed my first year (2018-2019) as a professor, in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Social Psychology and Global Affairs. I started the Applied Moral Psychology Lab. I was a Visiting Professor in Psychology from 2019-2020 at Cornell University.

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I began a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at Cornell University in July 2020 in the Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences & in Management and Organizations, Dyson School, SC Johnson College of Business.

Please get in touch if you are interested in the Applied Moral Psychology Lab.