Jim A.C. Everett is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Kent and Research Associate at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, specializing in moral judgment, perceptions of moral character, and parochial altruism. Jim completed his BA, MSc, and D.Phil at the University of Oxford, before receiving a Fulbright Fellowship to work at Harvard University, and a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie PostDoctoral Fellowship to work at Leiden University. Jim’s work is deeply interdisciplinary, and alongside traditional social psychological approaches he draws from philosophy, evolutionary theory, and behavioural economics. In his work, he investigates topics such as how we incorporate (im)partiality into our moral judgments; how we infer character from moral judgments and why this is important; how we think about the moral worth of animals; how our moral beliefs influence our understanding of free will and determinism; how morality is central to perceptions of personal and social identity; and how group processes shape moral judgment and vice versa.
Jim has published his work in leading journal such as Psychological Review, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. His research has been featured in The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, Scientific American, and more. Jim has received a prestigious Early Career Award from the largest Association for Social Psychology in Europe to recognise his early-career contributions to the field, and his joint-first-authored paper in Psychological Review received the 2019 Wegner Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
D.Phil in Experimental Psychology, 2017
University of Oxford
Msc in Psychological Research, 2013
University of Oxford
BSc in Psychology, Philosophy, and Physiology, 2012
University of Oxford
In 14 studies, we tested whether political conservatives’ stronger free will beliefs were linked to stronger and broader tendencies to moralize and, thus, a greater motivation to assign blame. In Study 1 (meta-analysis of 5 studies, n = 308,499) we show that conservatives have stronger tendencies to moralize than liberals, even for moralization measures containing zero political content (e.g., moral badness ratings of faces and personality traits). In Study 2, we show that conservatives report higher free will belief, and this is statistically mediated by the belief that people should be held morally responsible for their bad behavior (n = 14,707). In Study 3, we show that political conservatism is associated with higher attributions of free will for specific events. Turning to experimental manipulations to test our hypotheses, we show the following: when conservatives and liberals see an action as equally wrong there is no difference in free will attributions (Study 4); when conservatives see an action as less wrong than liberals, they attribute less free will (Study 5); and specific perceptions of wrongness account for the relation between political ideology and free will attributions (Study 6a and 6b). Finally, we show that political conservatives and liberals even differentially attribute free will for the same action depending on who performed it (Studies 7a–d). These results are consistent with our theory that political differences in free will belief are at least partly explicable by conservatives’ tendency to moralize, which strengthens motivation to justify blame with stronger belief in free will and personal accountability.
Sacrificial moral dilemmas are widely used to investigate when, how, and why people make judgments that are consistent with utilitarianism. But to what extent can responses to sacrificial dilemmas shed light on utilitarian decision making? We consider two key questions: First, how meaningful is the relationship between responses to sacrificial dilemmas and what is distinctive of a utilitarian approach to morality? Second, to what extent do findings about sacrificial dilemmas generalise to other moral contexts where there is tension between utilitarianism and common-sense intuitions? We argue that sacrificial dilemmas only capture one point of conflict between utilitarianism and common-sense morality, and new paradigms are needed to investigate other key aspects of utilitarianism, such as its radical impartiality.