Social psychology colloquium by Fiery Cushman, Thursday March 4, 4PM

Fiery Cushman is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, where he directs the Moral Psychology Research Lab. His award-winning research investigates how people learn and make decisions in social contexts, with a specific focus on moral judgments. Why, and how, did punishment evolve? What are the emotional systems that prevent us from doing harm to each other? How do humans make sense of each others’ behavior? To answer such questions, his lab uses surveys, economic games, functional neuroimaging, and computational modeling. Find out more:


In the real world, there is far too much to think about. This is remarkably understudied in laboratory contexts, however, where the study of decision-making is typically limited to small “choice sets” defined by an experimenter. In these contrived cases an individual may devote considerable attention to each item in the choice set. But ordinarily we are often not presented with defined choice sets; rather, we must construct a viable set of alternatives to consider. I will present several recent and ongoing research projects that each aim to understand how humans spontaneously decide what actions to consider—in other words, how we construct choice sets. A common theme among these studies is a key role for cached value representations. Additionally, I will present some evidence that moral norms play a surprisingly and uniquely large role in constraining choice sets and, more broadly, in modal cognition (i.e., reasoning about what is possible, likely, or desirable). This suggests a new avenue for understanding how morality influences our thought and behavior.”

The colloquium takes place online and all are welcome to attend!

  • Date: Thursday March 4 2021
  • Time: 4 to 5 PM
  • Where: <ahref=”″>Direct link
  • Meeting ID: 947 1394 7407
  • Passcode: 626552
  • Host: Björn Lindström