I'm a fifth-year developmental psychology PhD student at Yale University. I work primarily with Dr. Paul Bloom in the Mind & Development Lab. At Yale, I'm broadly interested in social cognitive development with a particular focus on how children reason about moral and social issues. Specifically, I am currently fascinated in questions related to (1) in what contexts and for what reasons children punish others, (2) how children reason about obligations, and (3) why children exhibit prejudice.
Prior to graduate school, I worked with Dr. Scott Lilienfeld at Emory University. There, I primarily investigated psychopathy's relationship to moral judgment.
When and how do children think about punishment?
A large body of research has found punishment plays a key role in the evolution of cooperation. Given this, I'm interested in the ways in which punishment manifests early in life and changes throughout the course of development into adulthood. For example, I'm intrigued by questions such as in what ways children enact punishment, why they enact punishment, why they think others punish their peers, and whether they evaluate those who punish positively. Together, these projects can provide insight into the ways that cooperative instincts emerge in early childhood.
For my most recent work on this topic, see this paper.
How do children reason about obligations?
As adults, we have sophisticated notions about who we are obligated to help. For example, we consider ourselves obligated to our children and our friends, but less so to strangers or people living in a distant country. In several studies, we have investigated the development of these beliefs not only in the United States but also in Germany, India, Uganda, & Japan. In general, in these studies, we find evidence for a natural default whereby children across cultures consider one even obligated to strangers, but with increasing age and depending on culture, children adopt a more selective stance on obligations, considering one only obligated to close others.
We have two papers in press on this topic, and will post them here as soon as they are publicly available! Feel free to email if you want to read them sooner!
Why do children and adults exhibit prejudice?
Much research has documented that children exhibit prejudice against a variety of groups from a young age. In some recent work with my collaborator, Anton Gollwitzer, we have examined one potential cause of children's prejudice -- children's aversion to broken patterns. This work has rendered two central findings. For one, children from a young age (~3 years old) dislike broken patterns. And, secondly, this dislike of broken patterns correlates with the degree children dislike social norm-breakers. We have also thoroughly examined this relationship in work with adults, where we find very similar robust results.
In more recent investigations into this relationship, we have adopted experimental (rather than correlational) designs to see the causal role pattern deviancy aversion plays in children's and adult's prejudicial attitudes.
For our most recent work on this topic, check out these two papers.
14. Marshall, J., Mermin-Bunnell, N., & Bloom, P. (in press). Developing judgments about peers' obligations to intervene. Cognition.
13. Marshall, J., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (in press). Do children and adults take social relationship into account when evaluating other peoples' actions? Child Development.
12. Marshall, J. (2019). Obligations without cooperation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Commentary on "The Moral Psychology of Obligation".
11. Gollwitzer, A., Marshall, J., & Bargh, J. (2019). Pattern deviancy predicts prejudice via a dislike of statistical minorities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
10. Marshall, J., Gollwitzer, A., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (2019). The development of third-party corporal punishment. Cognition, 190, 221-229.
9. Marshall, J., Gollwitzer, A., Santos, L. (2018). Two tests of an implicit mentalizing system: Evidence for the submentalizing position. PLoS One.
8. Gollwitzer, A., Marshall, J., Wang, Y., & Bargh, J. (2017). Pattern deviancy aversion: A building block of stigma and prejudice. Nature Human Behavior.
7. Wynn, K., Bloom, P., Jordan, A., Marshall, J., & Sheskin, M. (2017). Not noble savages after all: Limits to early altruism. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
6. Marshall, J., Watts, A.L., Frankel, E., Lilienfeld, S.O. (2017). An examination of psychopathy’s relationship with two indices of moral judgment. Personality and Individual Differences.
5. Marshall, J., Lilienfeld, S.O., Mayberg, H., & Clark, S. (2017). The mixed effects of neurological information and brain images on perceptions of psychopathic wrongdoers. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.
4. Marshall, J., Watts, A., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2016). Do psychopathic individuals possess a misaligned moral compass? A meta-analytic examination of psychopathy’s relations with moral judgment. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.
3. Lilienfeld, S.O., Aslinger, E., Marshall, J., & Satel, S. (2016). A field guide to exaggerated brain-based claims. In Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics.
2. Rommelfanger, K., Marshall, J., Wolpe, P.R., (2016). Neuroethics, In Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbook: Philosophy.
1. Lilienfeld, S. O., Marshall, J., Todd, J. T., & Shane, H. C. (2015). The persistence of fad interventions in the face of negative scientific evidence: Facilitated communication for autism as a case example. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 8, 1-40.