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Madeline R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Yale University


social psychology, developmental psychology, moral psychology, artificial intelligence


Hi, I'm Madeline (but I actually go by "Gracie"). I recently finished my PhD in Psychology at Yale University. I'm from the Chicago area (Go Cubs!), and I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ('17), where I studied psychology and philosophy. I research moral psychology. Specifically, I study how people determine who (or what) has moral status. For example, why do some people think that it's morally okay to eat pigs but not dogs? Why do we tend to think that robots don't deserve moral rights? I look at these kinds of questions in children and adults, and I examine how their beliefs form (and change) over the lifespan.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Morality + artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming a part of our social world. What does this mean for morality? In this project, we'll read and discuss papers concerning people's beliefs and judgments concerning AI (e.g., self-driving cars, humanoid robots). Then, we'll figure out which area you're most interested in. For example, what do children think about robots? Does this differ from adults? Do people think that robots have minds? We'll develop a project together, based on your interests. This could involve whatever you want it to! We could run an experiment, analyze data, and write a paper; we could put together a podcast and interview experts across moral philosophy and psychology. This is one of my favorite topics, and I'd love to work on something cool together.

Thinking about minds

When we look out at the world, we can immediately tell which kinds of things have "minds" and which ones don't. (We'd be shocked if the garbage can started moving itself across the floor.) What's more, we have beliefs about what kinds of minds others have --- e.g., toddlers can have desires but can't think rationally; bugs seem to feel less pain than dogs and cats. These are incredible inferences to make: Humans are the only creatures on earth that are capable of thinking this way. In this project, we'll start off by reading and discussing papers about how people make these kinds of judgments, and we'll work towards developing a project. We could even run a study together and analyze the data! I'm open to whatever your interests might be --- we can do some research, or we can do something totally new.

Let's talk psychology (podcast)

There are so many fascinating topics in psychology --- from understanding the causes of mental illness to unraveling how children develop a sense of right and wrong. For this project, we would develop a podcast together and interview top psychologists around the world about their favorite topics in contemporary psychology.

Coding skills


Teaching experience

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to be a mentor. I've mentored over a dozen undergraduate students and helped them develop independent projects as part of my research lab. I've also been a "teaching fellow" (which is Yale's way of saying "teaching assistant") for four psychology courses at Yale College, in addition to teaching graduate-level statistics for visiting undergraduate researchers during the summer. On the side, I also tutor data science and introductory psychology to students around the world.


Work experience

DeepMind (2022 - 2022)
Ethics Research Intern


University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC)
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Psychology & Philosophy
Yale University
MS Master of Science (2019)
Yale University
MPhil Master of Philosophy
Yale University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy

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