Research

Climate Change

Recently, I began studying the factors that increases people’s support for climate change policies. I’m particularly interested in social contexts that lead people to support structural climate policies. 

Beauty & Morality

I study the role of aesthetic judgments in moral standing attributions. I found in my research that people attribute more moral standing to beautiful (compared to ugly) people, animals, landscapes and buildings through perceptions of purity. We also showed that people attribute more moral standing to beautiful than to ugly animals, independent of the animals’ perceived mental capacities, dispositions to cause harm, familiarity, edibility and similarity to humans. 

The Function of Ugliness

I am interested in the psychological function of ugliness judgments. My research suggests that ugliness may have the function to alert us to cues of pathogen threat. As such, ugliness judgments may be the aesthetic dimension of the human disease-avoidance system. Investigating the implications of these findings for person perception, we showed people judge unattractive individuals as particularly likely to engage in moral violations pertaining to the purity domain (e.g., spitting on the street) compared to harm violations (e.g., pinching someone’s arm).