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Empathy & Moral Psychology Lab

Welcome to the Empathy and Moral Psychology (EMP) Lab at Penn State University, directed by Dr. Daryl Cameron.  We study the affective and motivational mechanisms involved in empathy and moral decision-making.  Our lab utilizes insights and methodologies from affective science, social cognition, and moral philosophy, in order to understand how people think about and respond to pressing social and ethical situations.

Some of the particular questions we focus on include why does empathy fail in response to mass suffering and during conflicts, and what can we do about it?  Why do people engage in blame and punishment, and how does outrage motivate people to engage in collective action?  For short and accessible introductions to our work, check out the Penn State Research article on our approach to motivated empathy, the release about our work on empathy avoidance and mental effort, the Penn State News article about our work on moral outrage, and the article in the The Conversation about the scientific and ethical ramifications of empathy deficits. Dr. Cameron wrote about empathy and politics for the Rock Ethics Institute’s “Ask an Ethicist” column, “How important is empathy in the U.S. Presidential election?”

Student Spotlight
Daniel Lim, Ph.D.

Daniel Lim, Ph.D. Post-Doctoral Associate

Daniel is a post-doctoral scholar in the EMP lab. He received his B.A. in Psychology from SUNY at Buffalo under the tutelage of Michael Poulin as his honors thesis advisor. He eventually went on to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Northeastern University under the guidance of his advisor, David DeSteno. Daniel is interested in examining the social-environmental factors that alter our capacity for empathy and compassion. More specifically, he is interested in how experiences with adversity could accentuate or attenuate prosocial proclivities. He is also interested in social interventions that could help us exercise moral emotions (i.e. empathy, and compassion) broadly and effectively. Lastly, he is also interested in examining the effects of contemplative practices (i.e. mindfulness meditation) on social behavior. While studying these areas of research, Daniel often utilizes confederate-based behavioral paradigms that have strong ecological validity as well as methods that yield longitudinal data (i.e. experience sampling, day reconstruction method)

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