Jim A.C. Everett

Jim A.C. Everett

Reader (Associate Professor) in Psychology

University of Kent


Jim A.C. Everett is a Reader (Associate 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 the moral psychology of artificial intelligence. 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, when, and why we trust artificial agents in the moral domain; 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, Bioethics, Nature Human Behavior, 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 early career awards from the three largest international societies in social psychology: the 2020 Early Career Award from the European Association of Social Psychology, the 2021 “Rising Star” Award from the Association for Psychological Science; and the 2021 Early Career Trajectory Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In addition, Jim’s joint-first-authored paper in Psychological Review received the 2019 Wegner Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Finally, Jim received the University of Kent’s Starting Researcher Prize, and has won the Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of his internationally recognized early career contributions to psychology.

Jim’s current work is funded through a New Investigator Grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (£300,000); a Philip Leverhulme Prize from the Leverhulme Trust (£100,000), and a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (TRUST-AI: €1,700,000).


  • Person perception and moral character
  • Moral psychology and trust in artificial intelligence
  • Ethical challenges of moral machines
  • Utilitarianism
  • Speciesism
  • Free will
  • Personal identity


  • 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



Reader (Associate Professor)

University of Kent

Apr 2022 – Present Canterbury, Kent

Senior Lecturer (Assistant Professor)

University of Kent

Oct 2021 – Apr 2022 Canterbury, Kent

Lecturer (Assistant Professor)

University of Kent

Apr 2019 – Oct 2021 Canterbury, Kent

Marie-Sklodowska-Curie PostDoctoral Research Fellow

Leiden University

Apr 2018 – Apr 2019 Leiden, Netherlands

PostDoctoral Research Fellow

University of Oxford

Jul 2017 – Mar 2018 Oxford

Fulbright Research Fellow

Harvard University

Sep 2015 – Jul 2016 Cambridge, MA


Moral Person Perception

How do different kinds of moral judgments people make influence how we perceive others? In what contexts will we prefer different kinds of moral agents? What are the philosophical implications of this?

Moral Psychology of AI

How, when, and why do we trust artificial agents in the moral domain? How should our knowledge of human moral psychology inform both the implementation and ethics of artificial intelligence?

Utilitarian Moral Judgments

What are the psychological roots of utilitarianism? Why does utilitarianism attract some people but strongly repel so many others? What are the psychological processes, personality correlates, and social consequences of decisions in different kinds of utilitarian moral judgments?


Do attitudes towards animals rely on similar psychological processes and motivations as those underlying other types of prejudice? How do we perceive people based on their attitudes towards animal rights? How does meat-eating become a moral issue, and what kind of moral reasoning are people engaging in?

Recent Publications

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The relational logic of moral inference

How do we make inferences about the moral character of others? Here we review recent work on the cognitive mechanisms of moral inference and impression updating. We show that moral inference follows basic principles of Bayesian inference, but also departs from thestandardBayesian modelin waysthat may facilitate the maintenance of social relationships. Moral inference is not only sensitive to whether people make moral decisions, but also to features of decisions that reveal their suitability as a …

Does encouraging a belief in determinism increase cheating? Reconsidering the value of believing in free will

A key source of support for the view that challenging people’s beliefs about free will may undermine moral behavior is two classic studies by Vohs and Schooler (2008). These authors reported that exposure to certain prompts suggesting that free will is an illusion increased cheating behavior. In the present paper, we report several attempts to replicate this influential and widely cited work. Over a series of five studies (sample sizes of N = 162, N = 283, N = 268, N = 804, N = 982) (four …

Moral dilemmas and trust in leaders during a global health crisis

Trust in leaders is central to citizen compliance with public policies. One potential determinant of trust is how leaders resolve conflicts between utilitarian and non-utilitarian ethical principles in moral dilemmas. Past research suggests that utilitarian responses to dilemmas can both erode and enhance trust in leaders: sacrificing some people to save many others (‘instrumental harm’) reduces trust, while maximizing the welfare of everyone equally (‘impartial beneficence’) may increase trust. …

Political Differences in Free Will Belief Are Associated With Differences in Moralization

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 …

Utilitarianism for animals, Kantianism for people? Harming animals and humans for the greater good

Most people hold that it is wrong to sacrifice some humans to save a greater number of humans. Do people also think that it is wrong to sacrifice some animals to save a greater number of animals, or do they answer such questions about harm to animals by engaging in a utilitarian cost-benefit calculation? Across 10 studies (N = 4,662), using hypothetical and real-life sacrificial moral dilemmas, we found that participants considered it more permissible to harm a few animals to save a greater …