DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
Powell, Nina
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Powell, Nina

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. (Birmingham), B.A. (Hons.) (North Carolina at Greensboro)

I am interested, generally, in how people process information about moral judgments, and the development of cognitive reasoning used in making moral judgments. To date, my research has explored both children’s and adults’ moral judgments and moral emotions. Specifically, I have explored the conditions under which people desire and seek additional, post-judgment contextual information that can either mitigate or inflame a judgment. My main research questions are when, why and to what effect do people seek mitigation after making a moral judgment. More recently I have started to investigate whether acts of virtue compared to acts of vice have different evidentiary standards, and how easy or difficult it is to reverse an initial judgment. I am interested in exploring the idea that morality is asymmetrical – people can easily identify wrongness, but have a more difficult time identifying and trusting acts of moral goodness. Following on from moral judgments, I have also started to investigate how easily people can reverse initial impressions of a person’s honesty compared to dishonesty – again, exploring a potential asymmetry between reactions to honesty compared to dishonesty.

Research Interests:
  • Honesty
  • Moral virtue and vice
  • Post-judgment information processing
Recent/ Representative Publications:
  • Powell, N. L., Derbyshire, S. W. G., & Guttentag, R. E., (2012).
    Biases in children’s and adults’ moral judgments.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 113, 186-193.