Professor Kurt Gray
Kurt Gray, Ph.D.
is Assistant Professor of Psychology,
University of Maryland, College Park.
Is torture justifiable? Should murderers receive the death penalty? Does a person in a persistent vegetative state deserve moral rights? While such questions may have no objective answer, understanding how people answer them not only illuminates basic social psychological processes but helps us to decide issues when lives hang in the balance.
The Maryland Mind Perception and Morality Lab, under the direction of Professor Kurt Gray, investigates moral judgments and how people perceive the minds of others. Linking mind perception and morality can help explain why people debate torture, why they believe in God, and how good (and evil) deeds can make people physically more powerful.
Research conducted by MPM lab members has been featured in the New York Times, the Economist, the National Post, Harvard Magazine, and the Boston Globe.
His papers include Dimensions of Mind Perception, Moral Typecasting: Divergent Perceptions of Moral Agents and Moral Patients, Blaming God for Our Pain: Human Suffering and the Divine Mind, Causes and consequences of mind perception, Moral Transformation: Good and Evil Turn the Weak Into the Mighty, Torture and judgments of guilt, Mind Perception is the Essence of Morality, and The Power of Good Intentions: Perceived Benevolence Soothes Pain, Increases Pleasure, and Improves Taste.
Kurt earned his BSc in Psychology (Honors) with an Earth Science Minor at University of Waterloo in 2003. He earned his Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Harvard University in 2010.
Watch TEDxSanDiego — Kurt Gray — Becoming Superman: Doing Good Makes You Strong. Read Perception of the Vegetative State: An Interview with Social Psychologist Kurt Gray, Strength in naughty or nice: Research says good or evil actions can lead to improved physical performance, To tell the truth: Torture may even make the innocent seem guilty, What does it mean to have a mind? Maybe more than you think, We feel more protective over women AND men in skimpy clothing — but think they’re less competent too, When the Guy in the Bed Feels Deader Than the Guy in the Coffin, and Love enhances flavors, reduces pain. Read his Psychology Today profile.