PHD, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
Social and Personality Psychology; Quantitative Methods
2008 - 2014
BA, OHIO UNIVERSITY
Moral Judgment, Punishment, Free Will Belief, Political Bias, Motivated Cognition
Much of my work explores motivated cognition within the domains of morality and politics.
My work has shown that desires to blame and punish others underlie belief in free will. For many, free will is considered a prerequisite for moral responsibility, and so augmenting this belief allows individuals to justify their own harmful punitive desires and behavior. Currently, I am working on a number of projects investigating the various social contexts that influence punishment decisions, including the social status of offenders, the relationship between the punisher and the offender, and cultural influences.
In the political domain, I take the perspective that bias is human nature (and particularly so in moral/political domains), and so it is likely that most if not all political tribes are susceptible to bias. I am interested in similarities among and differences between liberals and conservatives in bias tendencies, with a particular interest in how political biases shape evaluations of science.
I am always looking for new collaboration opportunities, so if you are interested in working together (or simply chatting), email me at
Everett, J. A. C., Clark, C. J., Earp, B. D., Luguri, J. B., Meindl, P., Graham, J., Ditto, P. H., & Shariff, A. F. (in press). Political differences in free will belief are driven by differences in moralization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Clark, C. J. & Winegard, B. M. (2020). Tribalism in war and peace: The nature and evolution of ideological epistemology and its significance for modern social science. Psychological Inquiry, 31, 1-22.
Clark, C. J., Liu, B. S., Winegard, B. M., & Ditto, P. H. (2019). Tribalism is Human Nature. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 28, 587-592.
Ditto, P. H., Liu, B., Clark, C. J., Wojcik, S., Chen, E., Grady, R., Celniker, J., & Zinger, J. (2019). At least bias is bipartisan: A meta-analytic comparison of selective interpretation bias in Liberals and Conservatives. Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Clark, C. J., Baumeister, R. F., & Ditto, P. H. (2017). Making punishment palatable: Belief in free will alleviates punitive distress. Consciousness and Cognition, 51, 193-211.
Clark, C. J., Bauman, C. W., Kamble, S. V., & Knowles, E. D. (2016). Intentional sin and accidental virtue? Cultural differences in moral systems influence perceived intentionality. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 74-82.
Clark, C. J., Luguri, J. B., Ditto, P. H., Knobe, J., Shariff, A., & Baumeister, R. F. (2014). Free to punish: A motivated account of free will belief. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16, 501-513.
ABOUT CORY J CLARK
I grew up in Bath, Ohio, birthplace of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and (occasionally) current home of LeBron James.
Up until college, my long-term plan was to be a backup dancer for Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg had to cancel his concert due to bad weather (typical Ohio hazard), and so I was forced to make other plans.
Once in college, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be an astronaut (physics major), Bertrand Russell (philosophy major), or a person who runs experiments on humans (psychology major). After I calculated my slim odds of being the first person to discover extraterrestrial life and my mom vetoed philosophy, I landed on psychology.
Though I earned my PhD in Social Psychology, I've managed to incorporate my philosophical interests into my research by studying morality and free will beliefs. (Let me know if you think of a way to incorporate astrophysics into Social Psychology.) Over time, I also have become more interested in how group commitments shape human cognition--among everyday people, but perhaps among scientists as well.
My hobbies include phojography (taking pictures while running), phodography (taking pictures of my dog), exploring new cities by myself, and planning for my future goat farm.