How do children reason about what is good and bad? Which aspects of moral judgment and moral behavior are learned, and which are present very early in life? In this line of work, we investigate the origins of adult moral psychology, uncovering both similarities and differences in moral reasoning across the lifespan.
Who has a mind, and what kinds of minds matter? Why is it more wrong to harm a chimpanzee than a worm? How should we relate to a super-intelligent robot? In this line of research, we investigate what aspects of mental life we attribute to different kinds of beings, and how this leads us to attribute moral rights and responsibilities.
We all change immensely throughout our lives, both physically and psychologically. What makes the 10-pound baby that started out our lives the same person as the wrinkled elderly person we eventually become? In this line of research, we ask how children and adults think they will change over time, what changes they think are possible, and whether children are more optimistic than adults about how they will change as they get older.
Almost everything we encounter in the course of a day is owned by someone. Without realizing it, we are constantly reasoning about which objects are owned by whom, and what that means for how we can use the objects. In this line of work, we investigate children's and adults' reasoning about who owns what, who can be an owner, and what and who can be owned.
Children as young as 4 think that all of their change is behind them.
Children believe strange events are more possible in the future.
Children think parents own
—unless the kid is Pippi Longstocking.
Children view fulfilling your obligations as morally better than going above and beyond.
When we say someone "just isn't the same person" after a big change, we don't mean it literally.
Academics in other disciplines think knowledge is something different than what philosophers think it is!
How do we know if someone owns a living being?
What do we mean when we say, "He's just not the same person anymore"? Does becoming evil make you die?
Children have surprisingly complex theories about the nature of the self!
In which we explain why people actually prefer unequal societies.
Is it better to overcome temptation, or never to be tempted at all? We find a surprising developmental difference!
Why can you own a dog, or a sophisticated robot, but not a human?
Does creating something give you a special moral status?
You look at a clock that reads 10:49. Little do you know, the clock is stopped. However, it just so happens to be 10:49. Do you know that it's 10:49, or do you just believe it?
Children and adults see the eyes as the location of the self!