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Home > Events > Expanding Empathy Speaker Series: Kurt Gray, "Explaining Moral Judgment"

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Expanding Empathy Speaker Series: Kurt Gray, "Explaining Moral Judgment"

Kurt Gray, Associate Professor of psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, is the third speaker in the Expanding Empathy Speaker Series. He will discuss why the past 20 years of moral psychology research may be misguided and outlines a new theory of moral judgment grounded in mind perception.
by Betsy VanNoy Jan 15, 2019
When Feb 28, 2019
from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Where Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center
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Kurt Gray headshot for Expanding Empathy

Kurt Gray, Associate Professor of psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, is the third speaker in the Expanding Empathy Speaker Series. He will discuss why the past 20 years of moral psychology research may be misguided and outlines a new theory of moral judgment grounded in mind perception.

Speaker Series: Expanding Empathy

Speaker: Kurt Gray

Title: Explaining Moral Judgment

Talk Abstract: The past 20 years of moral psychology research may be misguided. This talk explains why, and outlines a new theory of moral judgment grounded in mind perception.
Bio: Kurt Gray is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He received his BSc from the University of Waterloo and his Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University. He studies the mysteries of subjective experience and asks such deep philosophical questions as: Why are humanoid robots creepy? Why do ghosts always have unfinished business? Why do grandma's cookies taste the best? And why do adult film stars seem stupid? His research suggests that these questions—and many more—are rooted in the phenomenon of mind perception. Mind perception also forms the essence of moral cognition.

In science, he likes to wield Occam's razor to defend parsimony, asking whether complex phenomena can be simplified and understood through basic processes. These phenomena include moral judgment, group genesis, and psychopathology. He has been named an APS Rising Star and was awarded the Janet Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Research.  He was also given the SPSP Theoretical Innovation Award for the article "Mind Perception Is the Essence of Morality." His work has been generously funded by the John Templeton Foundation. He is currently working on a book co-authored with the late, great Daniel Wegner.

The Expanding Empathy speaker series is sponsored by the Moral Agency and Moral Development Initiative of the Rock Ethics Institute (REI) and is convened by Daryl Cameron, a core faculty member of the REI and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Penn State. 

Poster promoting the Expanding Empathy Speaker Series Spring 2019