The Moral Attitudes and Decisions Lab (MADLAB) is a vertically-integrated, interdisciplinary laboratory, co-directed by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Philosophy, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Psychology and Neuroscience, Law School) and Jana Schaich Borg (SSRI, Kenan Institute for Ethics).

About the Lab

Faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and undergrads work together on shared research projects. MADLAB is built around the broad theme of how social, cultural, neurological, and biological factors shape our moral attitudes, decisions, and judgments. More specifically, we work on the roles of attention and automatic processes, scrupulosity and psychopathy, objectivity and evolution, moral foundations and the unity of morality, and free will and moral responsibility. We have grants on moral artificial intelligence, Neurophilosophy, moral narratives and reasons, and Free Will.

Our methods include surveys, manipulations, meta-analysis,  fMRI, EEG, and philosophical reflection. Lab activities include presentations of works in progress, discussions of recent relevant literature, and discussions with visiting experts.

Meet the Team

Projects and Research

The following list of articles only includes works published in the last three years


  • “Computational Ethics”, by Edmond Awad, Sydney Levine, Michael Anderson, Susan Leigh Anderson, Vincent Conitzer , Molly J. Crockett, Jim A.C. Everett, Theodoros Evgeniou, Alison Gopnik, Julian C. Jamison, Tae Wan Kim, S. Matthew Liao, Patrick Lin, Michelle N. Meyer, John Mikhail, Kweku Opoku-Agyemang, Jana Schaich Borg, Juliana Schroeder, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Marija Slavkovik, and Josh B. Tenenbaum. Trends in Cognitive Science (2022).
  • “Which Features of Patients are Morally Relevant in Ventilator Triage? A Survey of the UK Public” by Lok Chan, Jana Schaich Borg, Vincent Conitzer, Dominic Wilkinson, Julian Savulescu, Hazem Zohny, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. BMC Medical Ethics (2022).
  • “Are you responsible for your unconscious self?” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Uri Maoz, and Liad Mudrik for Institute of Art and Ideas News (10 Jan. 2022) https://iai.tv/articles/you-are-responsible-for-your-unconscious-self-auid-2020
  • “Which Agent? Questions for Schechter” in Journal of Consciousness 29, 1-2 (2022): 170-178.


  • “How AI Can AID Bioethics” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Gus Skorburg. Journal of Practical Ethics. Online at http://www.jpe.ox.ac.uk/forthcoming/
  • “Political Polarization and Moral Outrage on the Internet” by Jordan Carpenter, William Brady, Molly Crockett, René Weber, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Connecticut Law Review 52, 3 (February 2021), 1107-1120.
  • “Making Moral Principles Suit Yourself” by Matthew L. Stanley, Paul Henne, Laura Niemi, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Felipe De Brigard. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review (2021). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-021-01935-8
  • “Valence framing effects on moral judgments: A meta-analysis” by Kelsey McDonald, Rose Graves, Siyuan Yin, Tara Weese, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Cognition 212 (2021) 104703. doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104703
  • “Artificial Artificial Intelligence: Measuring Influence of AI ‘Assessments’ on Moral Decision-Making”, Lok Chan, Kenzie Doyle, Duncan McElfresh, Vincent Conitzer, John P. Dickerson, Jana Schaich Borg, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Proceedings of AIES-20 (Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society conference in 2020).
  • Read, H. (2021). Empathy and common ground. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 1-15.
  • Li, L., & Tomasello, M. (2021). On the moral functions of language. Social Cognition, 39, 99-116.


  • “Translation and Validation of the Moral Foundations Vignettes (MFVs) for the Portuguese Language in a Brazilian Sample” by Lucas Murrins Marques, Scott Clifford, Vijeth Iyengar, Graziela Vieira Bonato, Patrícia Moraes Cabral, Rafaela Barreto dos Santos, Roberto Cabeza, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, andPaulo Sérgio Boggio. Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 15, No. 1, January 2020, pp. 149-158.
  • “Moral Conformity and its Philosophical Lessons” by Vladimir Chituc and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Philosophical Psychology (2020), 1-21. DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2020.1719395 
  • “Effects of Sub-Chronic Methylphenidate on Risk Taking and Sociability in Zebrafish (Danio Rerio)” by Rebecca G. Brenner, Anthony N. Oliveri, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Edward D. Levin. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00210-020-01835-z
  • “AI Methods in Bioethics”, by Gus Skorburg, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Vincent Conitzer in American Journal of Bioethics: Empirical Bioethics 11, 1 (2020): 37-39. (https://doi.org/10.1080/23294515.2019.1706206)
  • “Exposure to Opposing Reasons Reduces Negative Impressions of Ideological Opponents,” Matthew L. Stanley, Peter S. Whitehead, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Paul Seli. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 91 (2020), 104030, 1-16.
  • “Which Biopsychosocial View of Mental Illness?” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Jesse S. Summers, for Psychiatry Reborn: Biopsychosocial Psychiatry in Modern Medicine, edited by Julian Savulescu, Rebecca Roache, and Will Davies, pp. 82-91. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • “Which factors should be included in triage? An online survey of the attitudes of the UK general public to pandemic triage dilemmas” by Dominic Wilkinson, Hazem Zohny, Andreas Kappes, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and Julian Savulescu. British Medical Journal Open 2020; 10:e045593. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-045593

  • “Defining Addiction: A Pragmatic Perspective,” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Jesse S. Summers. For Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction, eds., Hanna Pickard and Serge Ahmed. Routledge, 2018, pp. 123-131.
  • “Which Biopsychosocial View of Mental Illness?” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Jesse S. Summers, for Psychiatry Reborn: Biopsychosocial Psychiatry in Modern Medicine, edited by Julian Savulescu, Rebecca Roache, and Will Davies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • “Partisanship, Humility, and Epistemic Polarization” by Thomas Nadelhoffer, Rose Graves, Gus Skorburg, Mark Leary, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong for A. Tanesini & M.P. Lynch (Eds.), Polarization, Arrogance, and Dogmatism: Philosophical Perspectives, Chapter 11. Routledge.

  • “Consequentialism” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online, revised 2019)
  • “Moral Skepticism” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online, revised 2019)

  • “Some Potential Philosophical Lessons of Implicit Moral Attitudes” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Daryl Cameron, in Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology, edited by John Doris and Manuel Vargas
  • “How Much Moral Status Could AI Ever Achieve?” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Vincent Conitzer accepted for a collection to be edited by Stephen Clarke and Julian Savulescu
  • “Some Lessons from Moral Psychology for Moral Philosophy” by Paul Rehren & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong for The Cambridge Handbook of Moral Psychology, edited by Philip A. Robbins and Bertram Malle
  • “Responsibility Without (Some Kinds of) Freedom” for a collection edited by Thomas Nadelhoffer
  • Moral Questions about Artificial Intelligence, by Vincent Conitzer, Jana Schaich Borg, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Under contract with Penguin Publishers.