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James Dunlea
Columbia University
  1. Children's and Adults' Understanding of Punishment and the Criminal Justice System.James Dunlea - 2020 - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 87.
    Adults' judgments regarding punishment can have important social ramifications. However, the origins of these judgments remain unclear. Using the legal system as an example domain in which people receive punishment, the current work employed two complementary approaches to examine how punishment-related concepts emerge. Study 1 tested both 6- to 8-year-olds and adults to ascertain which components of “end-state” pun- ishment concepts emerge early in development and remain stable over time, and which components of pun- ishment concepts change with age. Children, (...)
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  2.  17
    Moral Psychology as a Necessary Bridge Between Social Cognition and Law.James Dunlea & Larisa Heiphetz - 2021 - Social Cognition 39:183–199.
    Coordinating competing interests can be difficult. Because law regulates human behavior, it is a candidate mechanism for creating coordination in the face of societal disagreement. We argue that findings from moral psy- chology are necessary to understand why law can effectively resolve co- occurring conflicts related to punishment and group membership. First, we discuss heterogeneity in punitive thought, focusing on punishment within the United States legal system. Though the law exerts a weak influence on punitive ideologies before punishment occurs, we (...)
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  3.  49
    Enduring Positivity: Children of Incarcerated Parents Report More Positive Than Negative Emotions When Thinking About Close Others.James Dunlea - 2020 - Journal of Cognition and Development 21:494-512.
    Millions of children in the United States experience parental incarcera- tion, yet it is unclear how this experience might shape social cognition. We asked children of incarcerated parents (N = 24) and children whose parents were not incarcerated (N = 58) to describe their parents. Both groups of children also rated the extent to which they agree that they feel positive and, separately, negative emotions when thinking about their parent and best friend. This approach allowed us to test between two (...)
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  4.  24
    Children's and Adults' Views of Punishment as a Path to Redemption.James Dunlea & Larisa Heiphetz - forthcoming - Child Development.
    The current work investigated the extent to which children (N=171 6- to 8-year-olds) and adults (N = 94) view punishment as redemptive. In Study 1, children—but not adults—reported that “mean” individuals became “nicer” after one severe form of punishment (incarceration). Moreover, adults expected “nice” individuals’ moral character to worsen following punishment; however, we did not find that children expected such a change. Study 2 extended these findings by showing that children view “mean” individuals as becoming “nicer” following both severe (incarceration) (...)
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  5.  34
    Language Shapes Children’s Attitudes: Consequences of Internal, Behavioral, and Societal Information in Punitive and Non-Punitive Contexts.James Dunlea & Larisa Heiphetz - forthcoming - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
    Research has probed the consequences of providing people with different types of information regarding why a person possesses a certain characteristic. However, this work has largely examined the consequences of different information subsets (e.g., information focusing on internal versus societal causes). Less work has compared several types of information within the same paradigm. Using the legal system as an example domain, we provided children (N=198 6- to 8-year-olds) with several types of information—including information highlighting internal moral character, internal biological factors, (...)
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  6.  17
    The Essence of an Immigrant Identity: Children's Pro-Social Responses to Others Based on Perceived Ability and Desire to Change.James Dunlea, Larisa Heiphetz & Redeate Wolle - forthcoming - In Kevin Patrick Tobia (ed.), Experimental Philosophy of Identity and the Self. New York, NY, USA:
    Much work has highlighted the degree to which children and adults view human characteristics as immutable. Less work has elucidated how people may conceptualize such immutability. Using immigration as an example domain, we examined the extent to which children’s (N=112 5- to 10-year-olds) immutability concepts reflected beliefs about others lacking the ability and/or the desire to change. Children readily agreed that immigrants could—and wanted to—change certain aspects of their identities (i.e., by adopting the norms of their new country). We also (...)
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