Audun Dahl

Associate Professor

Research Focus

I am interested in development of morality across the lifespan. Every day, from infancy to old age, we encounter morally relevant events. We help or hurt another person, or we witness others who help or hurt, in both mundane and life-changing ways. As we develop, and enter new social situations, we encounter new rules for right and wrong behaviors. Religious texts spell out how to pray. Schools teach their students about how to use sources without plagiarizing. The abundance of moral and other principles prompts children and adults to determine, again and again, what makes for right and wrong ways of acting.

The Developmental Moral Psychology Lab studies how we reason, judge, feel, and act around issues of right and wrong across the lifespan. We also study how morality develops through everyday social interactions, starting in early childhood. We use a variety of methods—including laboratory experiments, naturalistic observations, structured interviews, and surveys—to study infants, children, adolescents, and adults from different communities. For instance, we study how infants begin to help and harm others, and how adults form judgments and decisions about complex issues, such as academic integrity and moral dilemmas. Through this range of methods and age groups, we seek to understand both the diversity and the unity of human morality.