Personality, worldview, and philosophy

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have beliefs about the world, moral convctions about what is right or wrong and good or bad, values that tell us what is important and valuable in life, and stories about our own lives. In other words, each individual has a personal worldview that imbues his or her life with meaning and direction, and this worldview says a great deal about who the person is.

The main purpose of my research is to clarify how people’s worldviews differ from each other, how they evolve over time, how they can best be measured, and how they affect our lives.

Understanding worldviews

My past studies have focused on moral intuitions about right and wrong, political values and preferences, as well as philosophical assumptions and philosophies of life (for more information, see this page). I currently focus on refining and completing a model of basic beliefs about the world, such as belief in a higher reality, human agency, the goodness of the world that integrates previous theory and research from many different fields.

Moral psychology, receptivity to misinformation, and polarization

Together with colleagues in JEDI-lab, I have investigated, among other things, how moral intuitions are reflected in charitable giving. Currently, we focus on understanding how political ideologies and other kinds of belief can lead to receptivity to misinformation (e.g., conspiracy theories, “bullshit”, and logical fallacies) as well as polarization and intolerance of ideological outgroups.

Theoretical and philosophical issues

Another area of work focuses on theoretical and philosophical issues, particularly concerning the scientific study of human beings as rational, meaning-making agents. I focus mainly on developing an integrative framework for the psychology of worldviews, a personality theory based on contemporary philosophy of mind, and a clarification of the role of different kinds of explanation in personality psychology. I started working on these things in my doctoral dissertation.

Learn more at my personal webpagearturnilsson.com

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2020

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