I'm a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellow in the Cooperation Lab and the Morality Lab at Boston College. I primarily work with Drs. Katherine McAuliffe and Liane Young. I'm broadly interested in social cognitive development with a particular focus on how children reason about social and moral issues. 

I received my PhD in 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Paul Bloom in the Mind & Development Lab.  There, I also focused on questions surrounding the development of moral reasoning. 


Prior to graduate school, I worked with Dr. Scott Lilienfeld at Emory University. There, I primarily investigated psychopathy's relationship to moral judgment. 




My research focuses on the development of cooperation.

In what ways do children reason similarly or differently about cooperation compared to adults?

Illustrations by Molly Coyne


How do children & adults respond to transgression & why?


One key way that human societies maintain cooperation is through intervention in response to transgression. When others act in ways that break social & moral norms, we feel an immediate desire for wrongdoers to receive punishment. Much of my recent work focuses on in what ways children are willing to pursue punishment of transgressors (Marshall, Gollwitzer, Wynn, & Bloom, 2019; Cognition) and why (Marshall, Yudkin, & Crockett, 2020; Nature Human Behaviour). This work broadly finds that children pursue punishment in specific ways that their behavior is motivated by a desire to inflict suffering & also to promote future good behavior. In future work funded by a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, I plan to investigate how intergroup context, such as social group membership, influences these patterns of punishment. To learn more about this work, listen to an interview on this work here!


When do children & adults think we're obligated to cooperate with others?


Cooperation can manifest in a variety of ways, including helping and punishment. These sorts of behaviors, though, rarely happen in a vacuum. Instead, these behaviors typically emerge within specific social contexts involving known and unknown others. In this vein, much of my recent work has investigated the ways in which children and adults take social relationship into account when ascribing both prosocial & punitive obligations. For example, we find that younger children are much less inclined to take social relationship into account compared to older children when considering obligations to help (Marshall, Wynn, & Bloom, 2020; Child Development) and obligations to intervene in response to transgression (Marshall, Mermin-Bunnell, & Bloom, 2020; Cognition). We also find that these developmental patterns emerge across a variety of disparate cultures, including Germany, India, Japan, & Uganda (Marshall, Gollwitzer, Mermin-Bunnell, Shinomiya, Retelsdorf, & Bloom, in press; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General). 

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What factors influence the development of prejudicial attitudes?


The emergence of prejudicial attitudes represents a serious problem in society. To address this, some of my recent work has focused on delineating the particular psychological factors that may promote the development of prejudicial attitudes. This work has found that a domain-general aversion to deviancy plays a role in shaping prejudice against atypical individuals in our society (Gollwitzer, Marshall, Yang, & Bargh, 2018; Nature Human Behaviour) but less so against racial minorities (Gollwitzer, Marshall, & Bargh, 2019; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General). Beyond deviancy, my work has also examined how status beliefs relate to biased social preferences in children growing up in non-WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) societies, including in rural Uganda (Marshall, Gollwitzer, Mermin-Bunnell, & Mandalayawala, under review).  




15. Marshall, J., Gollwitzer, A., Mermin-Bunnell, N., Shinomiya, M., Retelsdorf, J., & Bloom, P. (in press). How development and culture shape intuitions about prosocial obligations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.


14. Gollwitzer, A., McLoughlin, K., Martel, C., Marshall, J., Hohs, J., & Bargh, J. (2021). Linking self-reported social distancing to real-world behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social Psychological and Personality Science.


13. Marshall, J., Yudkin, D., & Crockett, M. (2021). Children punish third parties to satisfy both consequentialist and retributive motives. Nature Human Behaviour


12. Marshall, J., Mermin-Bunnell, K., & Bloom, P. (2020). Developing judgments about peers' obligation to intervene. Cognition

11. Marshall, J., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (2020). Do children and adults take social relationship into account when evaluating other peoples’ actions? Child Development, 91, 1395–1835.


10. Marshall, J. (2019). Obligations without cooperation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 43. 


9. Gollwitzer, A. & Marshall, J., & Bargh, J. (2019). Pattern deviancy aversion predicts prejudice via a dislike of statistical minorities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149, 828–854.


8. Marshall, J., Gollwitzer, A., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (2019). The development of third-party corporal punishment. Cognition, 190, 221–229.


7. Marshall, J., Gollwitzer, A., Santos, L. (2018). Two tests of an implicit mentalizing system: Evidence for the submentalizing position. PLoS One.


6. Gollwitzer, A., Marshall, J., Wang, Y., & Bargh, J. (2017). Relating pattern deviancy aversion to stigma and prejudice. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 920–927.


5. 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, 27, 3–8.


4. 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, 113, 240–245.


3. 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, 28, 212–436.


2. 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, 9, 40–50.


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.