New Staff: Dr. Nina POWELL









Nina joined the department as a postdoc fellow in August of 2013, after completing a postdoc fellowship at the University of Birmingham, UK. The postdoc at Birmingham was funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust, co-authored by Nina, examining the different evidentiary standards for judging virtue versus vice. Nina also completed her PhD in May of 2013 at the University of Birmingham under the supervision of Dr. Kimberly Quinn and Dr. Sarah Beck on moral reasoning and children’s development of blame attribution.

Nina’s current research focuses on how people process information following their moral judgments, and the development of cognitive reasoning used in making moral judgments. Specifically, she has explored the conditions under which people desire and seek additional, post-judgment, contextual information that can either mitigate or inflame a judgment. Nina’s primary research questions are when, why and to what effect do people seek mitigation after making a moral judgment. Nina is now investigating whether acts of virtue compared to acts of vice have different evidentiary standards, and how easy or difficult it is to reverse an initial judgment. This research will explore the idea that morality is asymmetrical – people can easily identify wrongness, but have a more difficult time identifying and trusting acts of moral goodness.

Following on from moral judgments, Nina is also starting to investigate how easily people can reverse initial impressions of a person’s honesty compared to dishonesty – again, exploring a potential asymmetry between reactions to honesty compared to dishonesty. While at NUS, Nina plans to explore the fields of moral reasoning and impression formation cross-culturally, in collaboration with DePaul University in Chicago, to examine how Eastern and Western thinking styles can impact post-judgment information processing.

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