The Applied Moral Psychology Lab combines methodologies from cognitive science, psychology of language, and social psychology to examine the psychological underpinnings of human morality and investigate how methods and findings from moral psychology research can be applied to address social issues.S
Broadly, the research program aims to (a) build a mechanistic description of morality (e.g., values; blame and praise; attributions of responsibility) in terms of language and cognition; and, (b) increase understanding of how moral commitments and their cognitive-linguistic underpinnings can lead to well-being and discord.
To increase the chances that this endeavor is useful and accurate, the lab uses multiple methodologies to test models of moral cognition, and considers various kinds of exposure to morally relevant events (e.g., victims of crime, harm-doers, helpers).
Ongoing projects include basic research on language and cognition in value-laden contexts — for example, the role of moral and political commitments in judgments of linguistic causality and quantitative information-processing. Other topics have broader relevance to social issues, such as: first responders’ stress injury; the partisan news media’s influence on moral judgments; victimization and self-injury; understanding of causation and mental health; and knowledge discrediting across demographic groups.
Ultimately, being able to synthesize findings about which devices in language and thought lead to conflict or peace across the various personal and public roles people occupy will enrich the science of morality and reveal features of moral psychology that contribute to human flourishing.