Moral Development Lab

Current Projects

Adolescents’ and Adults’ Judgments of Social Media Posts Reporting Rule Braking

This study was developed by Ryanne Schaad as part of her thesis. In an online survey, adolescent and adults view real-looking social media posts that report rule breaking that is either conventional (e.g. a girl wearing a tux to the prom), moral (e.g. hurting a little brother) or multifaceted (e.g. lying to parents to go to a concert). We examine how participation judge posts and how they themselves would respond to posts. Data collection is ongoing with help from Kara McSweeney.

Judgments of Research Ethics

In this study with Lindsay Keeran (UIC), Katie Hudon (UIC), Annie McConnon (BU), Jon Corbin (Duke) and Brenton Weirnik (U of South Florida), we are examining how researchers judge research practices that violate conventional, moral or truth rules.

Judgments of Property Violations: The Robinhood Effect

With collaborates Holly Recchia, Kristen Dunfield and Heather Maranges (all from Concordia University), this study examines how people think about “stealing” by varying the cost to owners, the need of recipients and the status of those to take resources without permission. The goal is to see if people consistently use moral or conventional reasoning for stealing.

Does Framing Resources Allocation as Games Affect Fairness  Judgments? 

With students Evan DiGregory, Kara McSweeney and Juliann Spara, we are examining whether framing distributive justice decision in terms of games affect fairness judgments.

Research Ethics: Reporting on Group Differences

With students Jasper Touchette, Lauren Rossi and Evan DiGregory, we are examining how people judge reports of research results that show one group to be either different or deficient than other, when the research is based on poor, moderate or good quality research methods.


Graduate Students 2021-22

Kara McSweeney

Kara is a second year graduate student working on a how preschoolers use information in the environment to inform assumptions about gender. This work will be conducted in the U.S. and Korea. Kara joined the lab as an undergraduate in 2020. She worked as a Summer Scholar in 2021, and is currently a first year grad student. She has worked on several projects including: Coding Open-ended Data, and Adolescents’ Judgments of Social Media Posts of Rule-Breaking.

Evan DiGregory

Evan is a second year graduate student who is examining how people reason about attaining personal goals. He is a graduate of West Chester University where he participated in research on the Dunning-Kruger effect and familial humor. 

Jasper Touchette

Jasper is a second year graduate students who is working on an intervention to change perceptions of poly individuals. This work will be important to understanding how information and affiliation can change opinions.


Undergraduate Students 2021-22

Lauren Rossi has been in the lab since 2018. She has interviewed children in schools, coded interviews, helped to film study stimuli, and she is currently focusing on Research Ethics and a Psychology Jobs study.


Juliann Spara joined the lab in 2021. She is a sophomore student spearheading a research project examining the reality of psychology job ads in regards to transparency and fairness. Additionally, she is involved in research studying fairness judgements among trivial and significant scenarios.


Mairead Campbell

Former Graduate students

Devon D’Andrea

Devon D’Andrea’s thesis examines young children’s understanding of several aspects of medical consent: the ability to reason about long term benefits weighted with immediate minor ham (as in a flu shot) and expertise. She is co-author in a paper published in Cognitive Development with Dr. Allegra Midgette on college student’s reasoning about equality in marriage, using data collected in our lab.


Ryanne Schaad

Ryanne Schaad graduated in 2021 and is currently a doctoral student at PCOM. She started in the lab when she was an undergraduate student, in the Fall of 2018. Her thesis was on adolescents and emerging adults’ reasoning about rule violations on social media. She developed a new methodology for her thesis to increase the ecological validity of her measures. Participants see a realistic social media post and are asked to respond. She expects to find that participants will respond differently to different types of rule violations. Her thesis has been accepted as a Stage 1 Registered Report at Collabra: Psychology.



Mackenzie Gillen
Allie Pope
Nicole Olivieri Pagan
Conor Neville
Kendra O’Donnell
Justin Kaluza
Nicole Gallagher
Emily Hachey


Join the Lab

Students who are interested in the joining the Conry-Murray Lab should read the information below and then email Dr. Conry-Murray.

The lab manual is located here:

Lab Pictures


May 2022 Lab party
Evan DiGregory, Mairead Campbell, Clare Conry-Murray, Lauren Rossi, Kara McSweeney, Jasper Touchette, Jules Spara
Fall 2021
May 2021 celebration of lab graduates
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