Most recent, important paper
Right now, my main line of work concerns everyday belief evaluation. My recent paper, Reconciling scientific and commonsense values to improve reasoning, provides a short review of this work. show abstract hide abstract.
Overview of research
I research the social aspects of metacognition, including how people evaluate their own and others’ beliefs and emotions, and how these evaluations affect judgment and decision making.
In one line of work, I study the lay ethics of belief - that is, the norms that people use to evaluate their own and others' beliefs. I have found that people do not always treat objective, evidence-based reasoning as the most justified way to form beliefs. Instead, people sometimes treat the moral quality of a belief, such as whether the belief is respectful or helpful, as a consideration that ought to bias reasoning. Indeed, people sometimes know that they are morally biased but affirm their morally-biased beliefs as justified. In light of this work, I have argued that changing people’s standards of reasoning is a promising way to encourage more open-minded thinking.
I also study people’s implicit theories of reasoning, and in particular, how people think about when and how others can change their minds. I have shown that people blame others for their beliefs and emotions because they often think that others have voluntary control over those states. Understanding people's implitic theories of reasoning:
- resolves a long-standing debate about the grounds on which people hold others morally responsible,
- explains why people sometimes think others have been coerced or manipulated, and
- predicts whether people react supportively or unsupportively to others’ emotional suffering.