Ongoing work

The moral circle

I am interested in understanding who we do and do not consider worthy of moral concern and the factors that shape these judgements. To explore this, I study factors about the entity being judged, as well as factors about the person making the judgement. In some of my recent work I find evidence that children, compared to adults, seem more willing to grant moral status to distant others (e.g., animals, robots, people who live far away). I am also interested in better understanding the concept of moral worth and how we differentially apply these concepts to different entities.

Real-life altruistic groups

Drawing on work with kidney donors, I aim to better understand the factors that motivate those who act altruistically towards distant others (e.g., children raised in meat eating families who give up meat, people who have taken the Giving What We Can Pledge). In my work I explore which personality and cognitive traits are unique in these groups relative to the typical population. I hope that this research will provide new insights into the factors that motivate these unusually altruistic individuals and, ultimately, altruism in the population at large.

Naturalness preferences and attitudes to food tech (cultured meat)

Extensive research has documented that we prefer natural things, but we have limited understanding of why these preferences exist. My research aims to track the developmental, historical, and cross-cultural trends in these preferences and identify the psychological factors that underpin them. I am also interested in the implications of these preferences for the acceptance of technology, such as cultured meat.

AI ethics for people

I have an emerging interest in understanding how we can collate research in psychology and other empirical fields to inform AI ethics questions.