Research Interests

My students and I have been engaged in a number of programs of research over the years. My most active areas of inquiry currently are testing hypotheses about the antecedents and consequences of moral convictions and the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of the left-right ideological divide. Current research in the lab is examining the social and personality identity functions of moral conviction, and we have some interesting ideas we want to test about the underlying processes that give rise to moral convictions (i.e., processes of moralization) and processes that might lead to demoralization. Although still preliminary, I also have some new interests in studying ideas about what predicts people’s willingness to make sacrifices in the name of the greater good or future generations, and the consequences of focusing on different kinds of futures and how that might motivate political engagement with a particular focus on utopian hopes versus dystopian fears. Finally, my collaborators and I have been studying how people respond to political incivility, the conditions when they are more or less likely to accept incivility in the political sphere, and individual differences in the tendency to moralize rationality.