Kurt Gray, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Contact Information:
Website: http://www.kurtjgray.com

Research Interests & Goals:

Kurt Gray researches how we perceive the minds of others and we make moral judgments.  He is interested in how children learn to understand other minds, especially those different from themselves, such as animals, robots, and outgroup members.  He is also interested in understanding the developmental roots of morality—in particular through the combination of innate socio-biological processes (e.g., empathic concern) with socialized norms.  His research also explores questions surrounding the topics of religion, racial discrimination, online technology, and the law, by using diverse methods including lab studies, large scale surveys, agent-based modeling, and network analyses.



  1. Waytz, A. & Gray, K. (in press). Does online technology make us more or less sociable? A preliminary review and call for research. Perspectives on Psychological Science.


  1. Brink, K. A., Gray., K., Wellman, H. M. (in press). Creepiness creeps in: Uncanny valley feelings are acquired in childhood. Child Development.


  1. Schroeder, J., Fishbach, A., Schein, C. , & Gray, K. (in press). Functional intimacy: Needing—but not wanting—the touch of a stranger. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


  1. Schein, C. & Gray, K. (in press). The Theory of Dyadic Morality: Reinventing moral judgments by redefining harm. Personality and Social Psychology Review.


  1. Gray, K., Schein, C. & Cameron, C. D. , (2017). How to think about emotion and morality: Circles, not arrows. Current Opinion in Psychology, 17, 41-46.


  1. Goranson, A. , Ritter, R. S ., Waytz, A., Norton, M. I., & Gray, K. (2017). Dying is unexpectedly positive. Psychological Science, 28(7), 988-999.


  1. Cooley, E., Payne, B. K., Cipolli, W., Cameron, C. D. , Berger, A. & Gray, K. (2017). The paradox of group mind: “People in a group” have more mind than “a group of people.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(5), 691-699.


  1. Gray, K. (2017). How to map theory: Reliable methods are fruitless without rigorous theory. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 12(5),731-741 .


  1. Jackson, J. C., Rand, D. G., Lewis, K., Norton, M. I., Gray, K. (2017). Agent-based modeling: A guide for social psychologists. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8(4), 387-395.