SASP Conference, Canberra

A week ago, I had just returned to Melbourne post-SASP Conference in Canberra. It seems a lot longer ago - which is probably Easter's fault. Still, better late than never – here’s a brief summary of what various members of the MMPL presented on this year! Read more about SASP Conference, Canberra

Emotion and Reason in Moral Dilemmas

"Dual processes of emotion and reason in judgments about moral dilemmas"

Last week at our journal discussion group, I presented an article by Gubbins and Byrne (2014) about the roles of emotion and reason in moral dilemmas. The aim of this study was to see if people provide emotions or reasons as persuasive justifications for their decisions when provided with moral dilemmas.

They argue that personal dilemmas will evoke emotional appeals, while impersonal dilemmas are more likely to evoke rational appeals in justifications. Read more about Emotion and Reason in Moral Dilemmas

Moral Dilemma

In the MMPL meeting on Friday, part of the discussion turned on whether we want to/should be studying “real life” versus “contrived” moral scenarios, and what each type of approach can tell us about moral psychology, moral judgment, moral justification, and whatnot.

My opinion on this issue is still in the process of being formed, and I think it goes something along the lines of “it depends”. Which, while probably annoying, is also potentially a good starting point for a blog post! Read more about Moral Dilemma

War on obesity

The ironic effects of weight stigma

This week in the moral psychology journal group, we discussed a recent article (Major et al, 2014) about the war on obesity. Read more about War on obesity

All That Stuff

Last week, the renowned personality researcher Professor Sam Gosling from The University of Texas gave a public lecture here at the University of Melbourne, entitled “What Your Stuff Says About You”. Read more about All That Stuff

Morality Quotes

So here’s one of my favorite quotes from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

I like this phrase because Hamlet is saying that things aren't essentially (morally) good or bad - it's only when we rationalize things that they become valenced.

What’s your favorite literary, philosophical (or other) quote regarding morality? Read more about Morality Quotes


A couple of weeks ago, I read an article on The Conversation written by our very own Prof Nick Haslam. The Conversation is currently running a series called "Class in Australia", and Nick's article focuses on stereotypes of the lower classes - in particular, the way "bogans" and other class-related categories of people are seen as "lesser humans", being dehumanised particularly in an "animalistic" way. Read more about Classy

Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature: The Luminaries

There are 12 main characters in the story, who are all somehow implicated in the mysterious events. When each of these characters is introduced, the author provides descriptions of their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, and their moral worldviews. In fact, my favorite part of this novel was when a new character was introduced and we got an account of their rigid deontology or their moral subjectivism Read more about Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature: The Luminaries

SPSP Conference

It’s been an eventful month. Last time I wrote I was on my way home from SASP Summer School; this time I’m going to be writing about SPSP Conference in Austin, Texas. It’s tempting to spend this post rambling about the trip in general (I’ve never been to the US before! The food was so delicious! The people were so nice!), but, since this is an academic blog, I guess I will stick to the serious side of things. Read more about SPSP Conference

The Moral of the Story: The Signature of All Things

The Moral of the Story: Morality and Literature

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Set at the turn of the 19th Century, this novel focuses on Alma, a bright girl with an unusual upbringing and an unwillingness to conform to the norms of 1800’s puritanical America.

As a female, she should have been doing needlework and seeing to the affairs of the home; but she instead chose to study botany, became a published expert in mosses, in addition to her sexual curiosity and awakening. Read more about The Moral of the Story: The Signature of All Things