I am a final year PhD Candidate at the University of Melbourne working within the Social/Personality Lab and the Behavioural Ethics, Affect and Meaning Lab. I study semantic expansion of harm-based psychological concepts such as prejudice, bullying, trauma, and mental disorder. Over recent decades the boundaries of these kinds of psychological concepts appear to have expanded to include both increasingly mild and qualitative new phenomena. My research program empirically tests this ‘concept creep’ at the individual level – that is, the difference between people in the extent to which they endorse narrow versus broad concepts – and tests models that might explain this variation.
I am also an Emerging Scholar of the Center for the Science for Moral Understanding. The Center seeks to reduce intolerance and increase moral understanding through scientific research, public engagement, and scholarship. My program of research explores how divergent understandings of what is harmful and who is harmed contribute to polarisation in the United States, and tests interventions to ameliorate these effects.