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  1. Kurt Gray, Simulating Murder: The Aversion to Harmful Action.
    Diverse lines of evidence point to a basic human aversion to physically harming others. First, we demonstrate that unwillingness to endorse harm in a moral dilemma is predicted by individual differences in aversive reactivity, as indexed by peripheral vasoconstriction. Next, we tested the specific factors that elicit the aversive response to harm. Participants performed actions such as discharging a fake gun into the face of the experimenter, fully informed that the actions were pretend and harmless. These simulated harmful actions increased (...)
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  2. Daniel M. Wegner & Kurt Gray, The Sting of Intentional Pain.
    When someone steps on your toe on purpose, it seems to hurt more than when the person does the same thing unintentionally. The physical parameters of the harm may not differ—your toe is flattened in both cases—but the psychological experience of pain is changed nonetheless. Intentional harms are premeditated by another person and have the specific purpose of causing pain. In a sense, intended harms are events initiated by one mind to communicate meaning (malice) to another, and this could shape (...)
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  3. Daniel M. Wegner & Kurt Gray, Blaming God for Our Pain: Human Suffering and the Divine Mind.
    Believing in God requires not only a leap of faith but also an extension of people’s normal capacity to perceive the minds of others. Usually, people perceive minds of all kinds by trying to understand their conscious experience (what it is like to be them) and their agency (what they can do). Although humans are perceived to have both agency and experience, humans appear to see God as possessing agency, but not experience. God’s unique mind is due, the authors suggest, (...)
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  4. Daniel M. Wegner & Kurt Gray, Torture and Judgments of Guilt.
    Although torture can establish guilt through confession, how are judgments of guilt made when tortured suspects do not confess? We suggest that perceived guilt is based inappropriately upon how much pain suspects appear to suffer during torture. Two psychological theories provide competing predictions about the link between pain and perceived blame: cognitive dissonance, which links pain to blame, and moral typecasting, which links pain to innocence. We hypothesized that dissonance might characterize the relationship between torture and blame for those close (...)
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  5. Kurt Gray & Chelsea Schein (2012). Two Minds Vs. Two Philosophies: Mind Perception Defines Morality and Dissolves the Debate Between Deontology and Utilitarianism. [REVIEW] Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (3):405-423.
    Mind perception is the essence of moral judgment. Broadly, moral standing is linked to perceptions of mind, with moral responsibility tied to perceived agency, and moral rights tied to perceived experience. More specifically, moral judgments are based on a fundamental template of two perceived minds—an intentional agent and a suffering patient. This dyadic template grows out of the universal power of harm, and serves as a cognitive working model through which even atypical moral events are understood. Thus, all instances of (...)
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  6. Kurt Gray & Daniel M. Wegner (2012). Feeling Robots and Human Zombies: Mind Perception and the Uncanny Valley. Cognition 125 (1):125-130.
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  7. Kurt Gray, Liane Young & Adam Waytz (2012). Mind Perception is the Essence of Morality. Psychological Inquiry 23 (2):101-124.
    Mind perception entails ascribing mental capacities to other entities, whereas moral judgment entails labeling entities as good or bad or actions as right or wrong. We suggest that mind perception is the essence of moral judgment. In particular, we suggest that moral judgment is rooted in a cognitive template of two perceived minds—a moral dyad of an intentional agent and a suffering moral patient. Diverse lines of research support dyadic morality. First, perceptions of mind are linked to moral judgments: dimensions (...)
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  8. Kurt Gray, T. Anne Knickman & Daniel M. Wegner (2011). More Dead Than Dead: Perceptions of Persons in the Persistent Vegetative State. Cognition 121 (2):275-280.
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  9. Kurt Gray, T. Anne Knickman & Daniel M. Wegner (2011). More Dead Than Dead: Perceptions of Persons in the Persistent Vegetative State. Cognition 121 (2):275-280.
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  10. Kurt Gray & Daniel M. Wegner (2011). Dimensions of Moral Emotions. Emotion Review 3 (3):258-260.
    Anger, disgust, elevation, sympathy, relief. If the subjective experience of each of these emotions is the same whether elicited by moral or nonmoral events, then what makes moral emotions unique? We suggest that the configuration of moral emotions is special—a configuration given by the underlying structure of morality. Research suggests that people divide the moral world along the two dimensions of valence (help/harm) and moral type (agent/patient). The intersection of these two dimensions gives four moral exemplars—heroes, villains, victims and beneficiaries—each (...)
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  11. Heather Gray, Kurt Gray & Daniel Wegner (2007). Dimensions of Mind Perception. Science 315:619.
  12. Jesse Preston, Kurt Gray & Daniel M. Wegner (2006). The Godfather of Soul. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (5):482-+.
    An important component of souls is the capacity for free will, as the origin of agency within an individual. Belief in souls arises in part from the experience of conscious will, a compelling feeling of personal causation that accompanies almost every action we take, and suggests that an immaterial self is in charge of the physical body.
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  13. M. MacCafferty & Kurt Gray (eds.) (1979). The Analysis of Meaning: Informatics 5, Proceedings ASLIB/BCS Conference. Aslib.
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