My research falls in the intersection of psychology and philosophy, and typically focuses on questions that combine morality, causation and social reasoning. One question I work on is the development of social expectations, and have specifically been interested in the idea that the systems children and adults use to determining what others will do in moral situations are completely separate from the systems they use to determine what they themselves will do. Relatedly, I'm starting to investigate what children think is possible or impossible and how that intersects with their moral and causal judgments. Coming from the other direction, I've had a long-standing interest in how children's causal judgments are influenced by their moral and Theory-of-Mind judgments.
One of my primary research interests is the puzzle of why people enjoy fiction that also upsets them. My studies are designed to investigate the "paradox of horror" and the "paradox of tragedy" through questions like: Why do we choose to watch movies that we know will make us feel sad or scared? How does this preference develop? What is the relationship between our enjoyment of a story and our emotional reaction to it? How might non-narrative elements (e.g. the audience's social environment, age, background, etc.) impact story preferences? I am also interested in the broader topic of why and how stories can be so appealing. Some of my current studies look at how we get involved in a story in the first place, why we identify with certain fictional characters over others, and fiction's role in our lives.
My research interests are at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, particularly in the area of moral judgments. More generally, how does our evolutionary history as a species as well as our individual development through infancy and childhood influence the ways in which we think about the world? This question includes not only study of the processes by which we come to moral judgments, but also issues related to the non-moral assumptions that are commonly integral to moral issues.
My research interests lie in how children and adolescents engage in, understand, and react to fictional and pretense worlds. I study how actors engage in fictional worlds onstage, the effects of such intense and prolonged engagement on the actor's social cognitive abilities, and how children understand and react to watching fictional worlds as audience members. I have been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (postdoctoral and dissertation grants), the American Psychological Foundation, and the Department of Homeland Security. I received my PhD from Boston College and my B.A. from Cornell University.
In addition to being a graduate student in psychology, Jennifer Barnes is a writer of books for teens. She's interested in the cognitive science of fiction, how people understand and tell stories, and the development of understanding the concept of intellectual property.
My main interest is in the ways that infants come to understand the minds and interactions of people around them. My research deals primarily with the moral cognitive abilities of infants, such as what infants understand about "good guys" and "bad guys." Additionally, I am interested in how young infants understand the intentions and goals of others, most especially those goals that go unrealized. I work primarily with Karen Wynn in the Infant Cognition Center.
Brian Earp is a senior cognitive science major at Yale. His research has focused on the role of automatic stereotype effects in racial differences in academic achievement. He is also interested in philosophy of mind and the lessons of psychology for free will. Former editor of the Yale Philosophy Review, Brian now edits the Yale Review of Undergraduate Research in Psychology. Brian is also a professional actor and singer.
Izzat Jarudi, Ph.D
I am interested in understanding morality (moral choice, judgment, emotions, and norms) using the tools and ideas of cognitive, social, and evolutionary psychology. My thesis work with Dr. Bloom focuses on issues of everyday moral judgment, including the moral evaluation of everyday objects, conservative concerns about moral purity, and moral objections to performance enhancement.
Jane Erickson, Ph.D
My primary research interests lie in cognitive development with a focus on conceptual development, naive biology, and theory of mind. In particular, I am interested in the developmental origins of, and interaction between, naive biology and theory of mind. A current project is looking to see at what age children begin to distinguish biological from psychological phenomena. A second project seeks to discover whether or not children attribute intentionality to biological processes and how this may change throughout development.
Louisa Egan, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Ford Center for Global Citizenship
Kellogg School of Management
Candice Mills, Ph.D.
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
University of Texas at Dallas
Susan Birch, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia
Kristy vanMarle, Ph.D.
Department of Psychological Sciences
University of Missouri - Columbia
Lori Markson, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of California at Berkeley
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan
Leeds School of Business
University of Colorado at Boulder