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Victoria Spring Receives Best Publication Award

Victoria Spring has been awarded the Best Publication Award from the Psychology Department, for her first-author paper “The upside of outrage” in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Congrats, Victoria!

Julian Scheffer Receives BRIDGE Impact Award

Julian Scheffer has been awarded the Impact Award from the BRIDGE group in the Psychology Department, for his extensive work supporting diversity and inclusion both within the department and the university as a whole. Congrats, Julian!

Paper Validating the Empathy Selection Task Receives Press Release

The paper validating the Empathy Selection Task has received a press release by the American Psychological Association, which can be viewed here. This release has been picked up in the media as well (e.g., Pacific Standard, Independent, Daily Mail).

Published Empathy Selection Task Paper in JEP: General

The lab has published the validation paper for the Empathy Selection Task — “Empathy is hard work: People choose to avoid empathy because of its cognitive costs” — in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. This paper, co-authored with lab members Julian Scheffer and Eliana Hadjiandreou, along with Cendri Hutcherson, Amanda Ferguson, and Michael Inzlicht, develops a novel behavioral measure of empathy regulation and shows how decisions to empathize associate with and are caused by felt cognitive costs.

Graduate Students to attend the 2019 Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology

Julian Scheffer and Victoria Spring were both accepted to attend the 2019 Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology being held at New York University. Congrats, Julian and Victoria!

Dr. Cameron Awarded Grant from the John Templeton Foundation

Dr. Cameron was awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, “Nudging empathy: Harnessing motivation to create sustainable empathic choices”. This grant is a collaboration with David DeSteno (Northeastern) and Daniel Lim, and will examine the roles of motivation and ability in the experience of empathy for others. For more discussion of this project, see this writeup at the JTF website: Is Empathy a Renewable Resource?

Daniel Lim giving Symposium Talk

Daniel Lim will be giving a symposium talk, “Past Adversity Mitigates the Adversity Bias in Compassion”, at the 31st annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science in Washington D.C. this May. Additionally, he will be giving an invited talk on the same work at the 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology in Melbourne, Australia. Congratulations, Dan!

Julian Scheffer and Eliana Hadjiandreou Presenting at the SPSP Emotion Preconference

Julian Scheffer and Eliana Hadjiandreou will both be presenting posters at the SPSP Emotion preconference. Julian will be talking about his work on compassion choice, and Eliana will be talking about her work on social norms and empathy choice. Congrats, Julian and Eliana!

Recently Published Paper: “The upside of outrage”

The lab recently published the paper “The upside of outrage” in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. This is a first-authored paper by Victoria Spring, and co-authors include Daryl Cameron and Mina Cikara. The work was also covered by Penn State News: “Does putting the brakes on outrage bottle up social change?”

Victoria Spring Chairing/Speaking in Symposium

Victoria Spring will be chairing and speaking in a symposium “The functions and perils of moral outrage” at the SPSP 2019 convention in Portland, Oregon. She also received a SPSP Student Travel Award to present on this work!

Eliana Hadjiandreou Receives an Educational Grant from the A. G. Leventis Foundation

Eliana Hadjiandreou has received an Educational Grant from the A. G. Leventis Foundation in Cyprus ($12,000) to support the first year of her doctoral research. The grant will support a project exploring 1) how undergoing adversity may create pathways to prosocial emotions through mechanisms of meaning-making and reduced perceived cognitive costs of empathy in samples undergoing medical, economic, and social adversity and 2) the potential prosocial effects of parochial empathy stemming from such adversity-based group memberships. Congratulations, Eliana!

Conceptual Research Posters Presented

Taylor Buchness and Shenyun Chen both presented conceptual research posters at the Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Conference. For her poster, Shenyun was judged as one of the top three presenters for conceptual research. Thanks for representing the EMP Lab, Taylor and Shenyun, and congrats on the award, Shenyun!

Taylor Buchness Working as a McNair Scholar

Taylor Buchness will be working this summer as a McNair Scholar in the EMP Lab, where she will be advised by Dr. Cameron on a project about empathy choice and leadership. Congrats, Taylor!

Dr. Cameron Awarded Social Science Research Institute Grant

Dr. Cameron was recently awarded a Level 2 grant ($15,240) from Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute for a project in collaboration with Drs. Robert Roeser and Chuck Geier (Human Development and Family Studies) and Dr. Jose Soto (Psychology): “Empathy for Disparity: A Social-Cognitive Neuroscience Approach”. The team also includes graduate students Sinhae Cho, Blake Colaianne, Julian Scheffer, and incoming graduate student Eliana Hadjiandreou. The project will use a range of methodologies, including self-report, behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging techniques, to assess the motivated regulation of empathy and compassion in response to social inequalities.

Recently Published Paper: “Intentional and unintentional empathy among physicians and non-physicians”

The lab recently published the paper “Intentional and unintentional empathy among physicians and non-physicians” in Social Psychological and Personality Science. This is a first-authored paper by Victoria Spring, and co-authors include Daryl Cameron, Stephanie McKee, and Andrew Todd. In this work, we administered the Pain Identification Task (Cameron et al., 2017, Emotion) to practicing physicians as well as a matched group of educated non-physicians. Results revealed that physicians showed greater ability to intentionally empathize with the experiences of others compared to non-physicians; however, there was no difference in their tendency to unintentionally empathize with others’ painful experiences. Nice work, Victoria!

Welcoming new Post-Doc: Daniel Lim

The lab continues to grow. We will be welcoming a new post-doc to the EMP Lab this fall: Daniel Lim, who will be coming to us from David DeSteno’s lab at Northeastern. Welcome, Daniel!

New Graduate Students Join Our Lab

The lab is excited to announce that two new graduate students will be joining us in the fall of 2018: Stephen Anderson and Eliana Hadjiandreou. Welcome, Stephen and Eliana!

Recently Published Paper: “Damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is associated with impairments in both spontaneous and deliberative moral judgments”

The lab recent published the paper “Damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is associated with impairments in both spontaneous and deliberative moral judgments”, with Justin Reber, Victoria Spring, and Daniel Tranel, in Neuropsychologia.  In this work, we administered the Moral Categorization Task (Cameron et al., 2017, Cognition) to patients with vmPFC lesions, as well as neurologically healthy participants and patients with other kinds of brain damage. Results revealed that patients with vmPFC lesions showed reductions in both intentional moral judgment and unintentional moral judgment.

Recently Awarded Small Grant from UCLA Animal Law Program

The lab was recently awarded a small grant from the UCLA Animal Law program, for the project “The Paradox of Animal Empathy: A Motivational Approach to Fostering Empathy for Animal Suffering”. This project examines the role of effort and financial costs in shaping empathic choices in response to humans vs. animals. The grant is in collaboration with Janet Swim (Psychology) and Robert Chiles (Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education; Rock Ethics Institute).

Recently Published Paper: “How to think about emotions and morality: Circles, not arrows”

The lab recently published the paper “How to think about emotions and morality: Circles, not arrows”, with Kurt Gray and Chelsea Schein, in Current Opinion in Psychology.  In the article, the authors use principles of constructionism, in which discrete mental states emerge from the combination of more basic, domain-general processes, to provide a new model of mind for the understanding of moral emotions.

Our Lab interviewed by Penn State News

The lab was interviewed by Penn State News for its recent publications “Implicit moral evaluations” (Cognition) and “The empathy impulse” (Emotion), which both discuss novel measures and mathematical models for moral judgment and empathy for pain, respectively.  For a  companion piece that describes the potential impact of these methods, see the recent piece that Daryl Cameron wrote for The Conversation.

Short Piece about Motivational Perspective on Empathy

For a short piece about the lab’s motivational perspective on empathy, see the recent piece that Daryl Cameron wrote The Conversation.  For a fuller treatment, please see the preprint “The ends of empathy” on the Publications page.

Recently Contributed a Theory Map of Empathy to Paper

The lab recently contributed a theory map of empathy to the paper by Kurt Gray, “How to map theory: Rigorous methods are useless without reliable theory”, in Perspectives on Psychological Science. Check out the Theory Maps site to learn more about theory mapping and its utility within psychological science.  Here’s a link to our Empathy theory map, collaboratively developed with Daryl Cameron, Julian Scheffer, Victoria Spring, and Eliana Hadjiandreou.

Recently Published Paper: “The empathy impulse: A multinomial model of intentional and unintentional empathy for pain”

The lab recently published the paper “The empathy impulse: A multinomial model of intentional and unintentional empathy for pain”, by Daryl Cameron, Victoria Spring, and Andrew Todd, in the journal Emotion. This paper develops a novel implicit measure of empathy for pain, along with a formal mathematical model for estimating underlying processes of intentional and unintentional empathy for pain.  We are currently extending this work to examine unintentional empathy for pain among practicing physicians, as well as in clinical and incarcerated populations.

Recently Published Paper: “Dissociating processes underlying level-1 visual perspective taking”

The lab has recently published the paper “Dissociating processes underlying level-1 visual perspective taking”, by Andrew Todd, Daryl Cameron, and Austin Simpson, in the journal Cognition. The paper examines a phenomenon known as “altercentrism” in visual perspective-taking: the tendency for others’ visual perspectives to automatically bias our own.  We apply process dissociation to disentangle automatic and controlled processes that shape this bias.

Recently Published Paper: “Implicit moral evaluations: A multinomial modeling approach”

The lab has recently published the paper “Implicit moral evaluations: A multinomial modeling approach”, by Daryl Cameron, Keith Payne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Julian Scheffer, and Michael Inzlicht, in the journal Cognition.  This paper develops a novel implicit measure of moral judgment, along with a formal mathematical model for estimating underlying processes of intentional and unintentional (i.e., implicit) moral evaluations.  We are currently extending this work to examine implicit moral evaluations in clinical and incarcerated populations.