moral taint in language

In July, a New York Times op-ed, “The Clinton Contamination,” went nearly viral, as it were. In it, columnist Maureen Dowd presents the Clintons as having a particular moral failure: an inability to be truthful. The piece is replete with purity rhetoric. Sometimes the treatment is subtle, Dowd describes Clintons’ behavior in a way that hints at pernicious contagions: “Their vast carelessness…

Cooking the numbers in politics

In new research with Dr. Sara Cordes, Dr. Liane Young and RA Mackenna Woodring, I investigated the role of voters’ beliefs and desires in the mathematical processing of election-related information just before the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election. We presented voters with mental math problems based on fictional polling results, and asked participants who they intended to vote…

NYT Op-Ed: Who Blames the Victim?

Recently, Liane Young and I described our findings on victim blame and ideology in an op-ed in the NYT. Check it out online here. Learn more about the research discussed in the op-ed recently published in PSPB, in this post.

What is fairness?

What makes people praise an allocation as fair? Fairness is typically investigated in social psychology and social neuroscience as a matter of equal allocations: whether people’s allotments match. But allocations that result in one person benefiting more than others might also be judged as fair; for example, when they function to pay back a favor (reciprocity), or help the person most in…

The Psycholinguistics of Morality

In my fellowship at Harvard University, I workied with Dr. Steven Pinker and Dr. Jesse Snedeker on an interdisciplinary project called The Psycholinguistics of Morality. Besides revealing the complexity of causal processing of morally-relevant action in language and thought, the project addressed specific concerns within and across disciplines. For linguistics, these studies aimed to inform the critical project…