Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt on Bill Moyers show

I am the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. I am a social psychologist who studies morality, emotion, and culture. My home page is here

My Research on Self-Transcendent Emotions: 

I study morality and the moral emotions, and I got interested in moral elevation because of my early work on moral disgust. In trying to figure out why people find some things morally disgusting (e.g., betraying your parents) and not others (e.g, robbing a bank), Paul Rozin, Rick McCauley and I came up with a theory about the “third dimension of social cognition.” In addition to evaluating people based on closeness (the X axis or horizontal dimension) and hierarchy (the Y axis or vertical dimension), we also evaluate people based on their placement on a 3rd dimension, a kind of Z axis on which God and goodness are at the top, while the Devil and evil is at the bottom. Social disgust is what we feel when we see someone moving down. It was only years later, after I got to UVA, that I began wondering what we feel when we see people moving “up” — behaving in a saintly or godlike way. In 1997 I started trying to answer that question, and that inquiry took me to the study of moral elevation and awe, which then led me into positive psychology. Now that I have moved to a business school, I am investigating the role that moral elevation can play in leadership, and in inspiring ethical behavior.

My Major Relevant Publications:




Academic Articles 

For a full list of my publications, please see this page.
Miscellaneous Notes and Clippings: