I am a social/personality psychologist interested in the links between cognition and motivation. Much of the research in my laboratory focuses on laypeople's implicit theories. Current projects investigate implicit theories about
1. the fixedness/malleability of human traits
2. human genetic variation
3. the ingredients that make an act intentional.
My students and I investigate how such beliefs influence basic attribution and stereotyping processes, as well as moral reasoning.
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- Joel, S., Burton, C., & Plaks, J.E. (2014). Conservatives anticipate and experience stronger emotional reactions to negative outcomes. Journal of Personality, 82, 32-43.
- Laurin, K. & Plaks, J.E. (2014). Religion and punishment: Opposing influences of orthopraxy and orthodoxy on reactions to unintentional acts. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 835-843.
- Plaks, J.E. (2017). Implicit theories: Assumptions that shape social and moral cognition. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 56, 259-310.
- Plaks, J.E. & Chasteen, A. (2013). Entity versus incremental theories predict older adults’ memory performance. Psychology and Aging, 28, 948-957.
- Plaks, J.E., Malahy, L.W., Sedlins, M. & Shoda, Y. (2012). Folk beliefs about human genetic variation predict discrete versus continuous race categorization and evaluative bias. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 31-39.
- Plaks, J. E., McNichols, N. K, & Fortune, J. L. (2009). Thoughts versus deeds: Distal and proximal intent in lay judgments of moral responsibility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1687-1701.
- Plaks, J.E. & Robinson, J.S. (2017). Proximal and distal intent: Toward a new folk theory of intentional action. Review of General Psychology, 21, 242-254.
- Plaks, J. E., & Stecher, K. (2007). Unexpected improvement, decline, and stasis: A prediction confidence perspective on achievement success and failure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 667-684.
- Robinson, J.S., Joel, S., & Plaks, J.E. (2015). Empathy for the group versus indifference to the victim: Effects of anxious versus avoidant attachment on utilitarian moral judgment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56, 139-152.
- Robinson, J.S., Page-Gould, E, & Plaks, J.E. (2017). I appreciate your effort: Asymmetric effects of actors’ exertion on observers’ consequentialist versus deontological judgments. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 73, 50-64.
- Robinson, J.S., Xu, X. & Plaks, J.E. (2019). Disgust and deontology: Trait sensitivity to pathogens promotes a preference for clarity, hierarchy, and rule-based moral judgment. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 10, 3-14.
- Tullett, A. & Plaks, J.E. (2016). Testing the link between empathy and lay theories of happiness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 1505-1521.
- Xu, X. & Plaks, J.E. (2015). The neural correlates of implicit theory violation. Social Neuroscience, 10, 431-447.
- Xu, X., Plaks, J.E., & Peterson, J.B. (2016). From dispositions to goals to ideology: Toward a synthesis of personality and social psychological approaches to political orientation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10, 267-280.
Department of Psychology
4003 Sidney Smith Hall
100 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3
- Phone: (416) 946-7010