Molly Crockett

Photo of Molly Crockett
Associate Professor
331 Peretsman Scully Hall
Ph.D., University of Cambridge
PDF icon Curriculum Vitæ (324.13 KB)

Research in my lab investigates how people learn and make decisions in social situations. Most of our past work focused on moral cognition: how people decide whether to help or harm, punish or forgive, trust or condemn. More recent studies have applied these insights towards understanding moral cognition in the digital age and across different types of social relationships. Currently, we are beginning to explore how these themes connect with the psychology of the self and identity. How do the stories we tell ourselves impact our self-image and our behavior towards others? How do we connect our own lived experiences with those of others, especially when those experiences are dramatically different or inaccessible? How do identity characteristics like gender become moralized? How well do we know our own minds, and when do social norms help or hinder authentic self-discovery and expression? How can we make good decisions if we don’t know what we want, now or in the future? (And what even is a “good” decision, anyway?)

Our work incorporates perspectives from philosophy, anthropology and economics as well as psychology and neuroscience, and we collaborate with scholars across these disciplines. We use a variety of methods in our research, including behavioral experiments in the lab and online, field studies, computational modeling, brain imaging, machine learning, and natural language processing. We are especially interested in bridging quantitative and qualitative methods for understanding human experience and transformation.

Representative Publications

Brady, W.J., McLoughlin, K., Doan, T.N., & Crockett, M.J.  (2021) How social learning amplifies moral outrage expression in online social networks. Science Advances, 7(33), eabe5641.

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Everett, J.A.C., Colombatto, C., Awad, E., Boggio, P., Bos, B., Brady, W.J., Chawla, M., Chituc, V., Chung, D., Drupp, M.A., Goel, S., Grosskopf, B., Hjorth, F., Ji, A., Kealoha, C., Kim, J.S., Lin, Y., Ma, Y., Maréchal, M.A., Mancinelli, F., Mathys, C., Olsen, A.L., Pearce, G., Prosser, A.M.B., Reggev, N., Sabin, N., Senn, J., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., Shin, Y.S.,  Sjastad, H., Strick, M., Sul, S., Tummers, L., Turner, M., Yu, H., Zoh, Y., & Crockett, M.J. (2021) Registered Report: Moral dilemmas and trust in leaders during a global health crisis. Nature Human Behaviour, 1-15.

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Crockett, M. J., Everett, J. A., Gill, M., & Siegel, J. Z. (2021). The relational logic of moral inference. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 64, pp. 1-64). Academic Press.

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Forstmann, M., Yudkin, D. A., Prosser, A. M., Heller, S. M., & Crockett, M. J. (2020). Transformative experience and social connectedness mediate the mood-enhancing effects of psychedelic use in naturalistic settings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(5), 2338-2346.

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Crockett M.J., Siegel J.Z, Kurth-Nelson Z., Dayan P., & Dolan R.J. (2017) Moral transgressions corrupt neural representations of value. Nature Neuroscience, 2(10), 879-885.

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