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
- Krasich, K., Simmons, C., O’Neill, K., Giattino, C. M., De Brigard, F., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., Mudrik, L., & Woldorff, M. G. (2022). Prestimulus oscillatory brain activity interacts with evoked recurrent processing to facilitate conscious visual perception. Scientific Reports, 12, 22126.
- McKee, P. C.+, Kim, H.+, Tang, H., Everett, J., Gibea, T., Boggio, P., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2023). Does it matter who harmed whom? A cross-cultural study of moral judgments about harm by and to insiders and outsiders. Current Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-023-04986-3
- Sinnott-Armstrong, W., & McKee, P. (2022). Certain prosocial motives limit redistribution aimed at equality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(51), e2219059119.
- Simmons, C., McKee, P., Antonios, I., Smith, A., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2022). Bad dream frequency predicts mental health needs during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 10, 100448. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadr.2022.100448
- Boone, T., Van Rooy, N., De Brigard, F. (2023). Not Every Thing Must Go. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 35 (3): 376–379,
- Simmons, C., Helming, K., Musholt, K., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2023). Where is the Golden Mean of Intellectual Humility? Comments on Ballantyne. Journal of Positive Psychology, 18(2), 240-243.
- McKee, P., Kim, H-e., Tang, H., Everett, J., Chituc, V., Gibea, T., Marques, L., Boggio, P., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2023). Does it Matter Who Harmed Whom? A Cross-Cultural Study of Moral Judgments about Harm By and To Insiders and Outsiders. Current Psychology, doi.org/10.1007/s12144-023-04986-3
- Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2023). “Who is Responsible? Split Brains, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Implicit Attitudes” in Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Action, edited by Paul Henne and Samuel Murray, pp. 73-86. London: Bloomsbury.
- “How Stable Are Moral Judgments?”, Paul Rehren & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-022-00649-7. Online at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13164-022-00649-7
- Murray, S., Krasich, K., Irving, Z., Nadelhoffer, T., & De Brigard, F. (2023). “Mental control and attributions of blame for negligent wrongdoing.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 152(1), 120-138. Online at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360572074_Mental_control_and_attributions_of_blame_for_negligent_wrongdoing
- Irving, Z., Murray, S., Glasser, A., & Krasich, K. (2023). “The Catch-22 of forgetfulness: Responsibility for mental mistakes.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 1-19. Online at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360381810_The_Catch-22_Of_Forgetfulness_Responsibility_for_Mental_Mistakes
- “Freedom From What? Separating Lay Concepts of Freedom” by Claire Simmons, Paul Rehren, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, and John-Dylan Haynes. Consciousness and Cognition 101 (2022) 103318. Online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35397429/
- “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.
- “Some Common Fallacies in Arguments from M/EEG,” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Claire Simmons. NeuroImage 245 (15 December, 2021), 118725. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118725.
- “Moral Framing Effects Within Subjects” by Paul Rehren and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Philosophical Psychology (2021). DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2021.1914328.
- Krasich, K., Gjorgieva, E., Murray, S., Bhatia, S., Faber, M., De Brigard, F., & Woldorff, M. G. (2021). “The impact of error-consequence severity on cue processing in importance-biased prospective memory.” Cerebral Cortex Communications, 2(4), tgab056.
- Kramer, M.F. “What it Might Be like to Be a Group Agent.” Neuroethics 14, 437–447 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-021-09459-7.
- Kramer, M. (2021). Teaching drunk: Work, the online economy, and uncertainty in action. Philosophy, 96(3), 387-408. Doi:10.1017/S0031819121000176
- “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.
- Neuroscience and Philosophy. Edited by Felipe De Brigard and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. MIT Press, 2022.
- Free Will: Philosophers and Neuroscientists in Conversation. Edited by Uri Maoz and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. New York; Oxford University Press, 2022.
- Clean Hands: Philosophical Lessons from Scrupulosity, by Jesse Summers and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.
- “Scrupulosity and Moral Responsibility,” by Jesse S. Summers and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. In Agency in Mental Disorder: Philosophical Dimensions, edited by Matt King and Joshua May. Oxford University Press, 2022.
- “The Scientific Study of Passing Thinking: The Methodology of Mind Wandering Research,” by Samuel Murray, Zac Irving, and Kristina Krasich. In Neuroscience and Philosophy, edited by Felipe De Brigard and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. MIT Press, 2022.
- “Partisanship, Humility, and Epistemic Polarization” by Thomas Nadelhoffer, Rose Graves, Gus Skorburg, Mark Leary, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. In Polarization, Arrogance, and Dogmatism: Philosophical Perspectives, edited by A. Tanesini and M.P. Lynch. Routledge, 2020.
- “Which Biopsychosocial View of Mental Illness?” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Jesse S. Summers. In Psychiatry Reborn: Biopsychosocial Psychiatry in Modern Medicine, edited by Julian Savulescu, Rebecca Roache, and Will Davies. Oxford University Press, 2019.
- “Defining Addiction: A Pragmatic Perspective,” by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Jesse S. Summers. In Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction, edited by Hanna Pickard and Serge Ahmed. Routledge, 2018.
- “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.