Eliana Hadjiandreou is a PhD candidate in Social Psychology, conducting research as part of the Empathy and Moral Psychology Lab, with affiliations to the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State, the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding at UNC Chapel Hill, as well as the University of Cyprus. Her work broadly studies perceptions and norms around empathy, compassion, and selfishness, with a particular interest on how such perceptions can affect our willingness to include others in our moral circles and engage in dialogue across different group divides.
Dissertation: The stringent moral circle: The effect of self-other discrepancies in the expansion of moral concern
Project Description: People continually grapple with the question of who is worthy of our moral regard. Whom should I protest for, wear a mask for, sign a petition for? In other words, who should I include in my moral circle? To answer these questions, people sometimes look to others’ moral decisions. At the same time, people assume that others are more self-interested than they really are (Miller, 1999) which can reduce one’s own prosociality. My dissertation aims to assess whether this paradox is reflected in people’s circles of moral expansiveness, and the effects of assuming that others are less morally expansive than the self on prosocial attitudes towards suffering targets. In some preliminary data I have collected (Hadjiandreou & Cameron, 2020) using the Moral Expansiveness Scale (MES; Crimston et al., 2016) from three perspectives (self, others, others for self), there was support for the hypothesis that people think their own moral expansiveness is higher than that of others, reflecting undue cynicism. This, in turn, has complicated relationships to how much compassion people report for suffering entities, which I will investigate further as part of my dissertation.