Dr Sophie Russell


Lecturer in Social Psychology
PhD
SeWednesdays 9:30-10:30 (General); Wednesdays 10:30-11:30 (Tutees)

Biography

University roles and responsibilities

  • Final Year Tutor

My qualifications

2010
PhD Social Psychology
University of Kent

Research

Research interests

Supervision

Completed postgraduate research projects I have supervised

My teaching

Courses I teach on

Postgraduate taught

My publications

Highlights

Peer-reviewed journal publications

Bartos, S.E., Russell, P.S., & Hegarty, P. (in press). Heroes against homophobia: Does elevation uniquely block homophobia by inhibiting disgust? Cognition and Emotion. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2020.1726292

Giner-Sorolla, R, & Russell, P.S. (2019). Not just disgust: Fear and anger attitudes also relate to intergroup dehumanization. Collabra. 5, 56. doi: http://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.211

AlSheddi, M., Russell, S. and Hegarty, P. (2019), How Does Culture Shape Our Moral Identity? Moral Foundations in Saudi Arabia and Britain. European Journal of Social Psychology. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2619

Chakroff, A., Russell, P.S., Piazza, J., & Young, L. (2017). From impure to harmful: Asymmetric expectations about immoral agents. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 69, 201-209. doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2016.08.001

Russell P.S., & Piazza J. (2015). Consenting to counter-normative sexual acts: Differential effects of consent on anger and disgust as a function of transgressor or consenter. Cognition and Emotion, 29, 634-653. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2014.930420

Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Bodily-Moral Disgust: What It Is, How It Is Different from Anger and Why It Is an Unreasoned Emotion. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 328-351. doi: 10.1037/a0029319

Piazza, J., Russell, P. S., & Sousa, P. (2013). Moral emotions and the envisaging of mitigating circumstances for wrongdoing. Cognition & Emotion, 27, 707-722. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2012.736859

Russell, P.S., Piazza, J., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). CAD revisited: Effects of the Word “Moral” on the Moral Relevance of Disgust (and Other Emotions). Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 62-68. doi: 10.1177/1948550612442913

Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2011). Moral anger, but not moral disgust, responds to intentionality. Emotion, 11, 233-240.  doi:10.1037/a0022598

Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2011). Social justifications for moral emotions: When reasons for disgust are less elaborated than for anger. Emotion, 11, 637-646. doi:10.1037/a0022600

Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2011).  Moral anger is more flexible than moral disgust. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 360-364. doi:10.1177/1948550610391678

Peer-reviewed journal publications (under review) 

AlSheddi, M., Hegarty, P & Russell. Between Cultural Relativism and Liberal Ethnocentrism: What does Saudi Arabia Tell Us about Cultural Variation in Moral Identity and Prejudice. 

Russell, P.S., Birtel, M.D.,Smith, D.M, & Hart, K. Infant Feeding and Internalized Stigma: The Role of Experienced Emotions. 

Other publications

McDowall, A., Carr, I., Russell, S., Glorney, E., Bharj, N., Coyle, A., & Nash, R. (2014). What works to prevent wrongdoing in police and other organisations? A rapid evidence assessment: A rapid evidence assessment (TBC). College of Policing.

Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (July 2011). The dangers of disgust in the courtroom. The Jury Expert.

Abrams, D., Russell, P.S, Vauclair, M., Swift, H. (2011).  Ageism in Europe: Findings from the European Social Survey. London: AgeUK.

Giner-Sorolla, R, & Russell, P.S. (2009). Anger, disgust and sexual crimes. In Horvath, M.A.H. & Brown, J.M. (Eds.), Rape: Challenging contemporary thinking (Chapter 3). Cullompton: Willan Publishing.

Publications

Russell PS, Giner-Sorolla R (2013) Bodily Moral Disgust: What It Is, How It Is Different From Anger, and Why It Is an Unreasoned Emotion,PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN 139 (2) pp. 328-351 AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC
Russell PS, Giner-Sorolla R (2011) Moral Anger, but Not Moral Disgust, Responds to Intentionality, EMOTION 11 (2) pp. 233-240 AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC
Russell PS, Piazza J (2015) Consenting to counter-normative sexual acts: Differential effects of consent on anger and disgust as a function of transgressor or consenter, Cognition and Emotion 29 (4) pp. 634-653
© 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis.Anger and disgust may have distinct roles in sexual morality; here, we tested hypotheses regarding the distinct foci, appraisals, and motivations of anger and disgust within the context of sexual offenses. We conducted four experiments in which we manipulated whether mutual consent (Studies 1?3) or desire (Study 4) was present or absent within a counter-normative sexual act. We found that anger is focused on the injustice of non-consensual sexual acts, and the transgressor of the injustice (Studies 1 and 3). Furthermore, the sexual nature of the act was not critical for the elicitation of anger?as anger also responded to unjust acts of violence (Study 3). By contrast, we hypothesised and found that disgust is focused on whether or not a person voluntarily engaged in, desired or consented to a counter-normative sexual act (Studies 2?4). Appraisals of abnormality and degradation were the primary appraisals of disgust, and the sexual nature of the act was a critical elicitor of disgust (Study 3). A final study ruled out victimisation as the mechanism of the effect of consent on disgust and indicated that the consenter's sexual desire was the mechanism (Study 4). Our results reveal that anger and disgust have differential roles in consent-related sexual offenses due to the distinct appraisals and foci of these emotions.
Russell PS, Piazza J (2014) Consenting to counter-normative sexual acts: differential effects of consent on anger and disgust as a function of transgressor or consenter., Cogn Emot 29 (4) pp. 634-653
Anger and disgust may have distinct roles in sexual morality; here, we tested hypotheses regarding the distinct foci, appraisals, and motivations of anger and disgust within the context of sexual offenses. We conducted four experiments in which we manipulated whether mutual consent (Studies 1-3) or desire (Study 4) was present or absent within a counter-normative sexual act. We found that anger is focused on the injustice of non-consensual sexual acts, and the transgressor of the injustice (Studies 1 and 3). Furthermore, the sexual nature of the act was not critical for the elicitation of anger--as anger also responded to unjust acts of violence (Study 3). By contrast, we hypothesised and found that disgust is focused on whether or not a person voluntarily engaged in, desired or consented to a counter-normative sexual act (Studies 2-4). Appraisals of abnormality and degradation were the primary appraisals of disgust, and the sexual nature of the act was a critical elicitor of disgust (Study 3). A final study ruled out victimisation as the mechanism of the effect of consent on disgust and indicated that the consenter's sexual desire was the mechanism (Study 4). Our results reveal that anger and disgust have differential roles in consent-related sexual offenses due to the distinct appraisals and foci of these emotions.
Russell PS, Piazza J, Giner-Sorolla R (2013) CAD Revisited: Effects of the Word Moral on the Moral Relevance of Disgust (and Other Emotions), Social Psychological and Personality Science 4 (1) pp. 62-68
The CAD model posits a mapping of contempt, anger, and disgust onto the moral codes of community, autonomy, and divinity, respectively. A recent study by Hutcherson and Gross posited moral disgust as the dominant other-condemning emotion across all three moral codes. However, the methodology used may have incidentally increased the relevance of disgust. In the current experiment, one condition repeated Hutcherson and Gross's procedure, while in another condition, the authors added the word moral to three other emotions. Consistent with CAD, anger had the highest intensity ratings in response to autonomy violations, whereas "grossed out" was the dominant response to divinity violations. Furthermore, the adjective "moral" increased the relevance of anger, contempt, and fear in irrelevant domains, which suggests that the adjective moral increases any emotion's moral relevance. © The Author(s) 2013.
Piazza J, Russell PS, Sousa P (2013) Moral emotions and the envisaging of mitigating circumstances for wrongdoing,Cognition and Emotion 27 (4) pp. 707-722
Anger may be more responsive than disgust to mitigating circumstances in judgements of wrongdoing. We tested this hypothesis in two studies where we had participants envision circumstances that could serve to mitigate an otherwise wrongful act. In Study 1, participants provided moral judgements, and ratings of anger and disgust, to a number of transgressions involving either harm or bodily purity. They were then asked to imagine and report whether there might be any circumstances that would make it all right to perform the act. Across transgression type, and controlling for covariance between anger and disgust, levels of anger were found to negatively predict the envisioning of mitigating circumstances for wrongdoing, while disgust was unrelated. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings to less serious transgressions, using a continuous measure of mitigating circumstances, and demonstrated the impact of anger independent of deontological commitments. These findings highlight the differential relationship that anger and disgust have with the ability to envision mitigating factors. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
In the present research, we tested the unreasoning disgust hypothesis: moral disgust, in particular in response to a violation of a bodily norm, is less likely than moral anger to be justified with cognitively elaborated reasons. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to explain why they felt anger and disgust toward pedophiles. Participants were more likely to invoke elaborated reasons, versus merely evaluative responses, when explaining their anger, versus disgust. Experiment 2 used a between-participants design; participants explained why they felt either anger or disgust toward seven groups that either violated a sexual or nonsexual norm. Again, elaborated reasons were less prevalent when explaining their disgust versus anger and, in particular, when explaining disgust toward a group that violated a sexual norm. Experiment 3 further established that these findings are due to a lower accessibility of elaborated reasons for bodily disgust, rather than inhibition in using them when provided. From these findings, it can be concluded that communicating external reasons for moral disgust at bodily violations is made more difficult due to the unavailability of those reasons to people. © 2011 American Psychological Association.
Russell PS, Giner-Sorolla R (2011) Moral anger is more flexible than moral disgust, Social Psychological and Personality Science 2 pp. 360-364
The research examines whether anger rather than disgust is more likely to be responsible for changes in moral judgment, after individuals consider potential circumstances. Participants first read a scenario that described a moral violation (harm or fairness vs. purity) and then gave their initial moral judgment and emotions toward the act. They were then asked to list things that could change their opinion and were provided with an opportunity to fill out the measures again, re-evaluating the scenario with these changes in mind. It was found that ratings of disgust did not change after generating potential circumstances; however, anger changed in differential ways for the two violation types. It was also found that anger but not disgust predicted change in moral judgment. These findings suggest that moral anger is a more flexible emotion than moral disgust because anger is more likely to respond to changes in circumstances.
Russell PS (2013) Anger, disgust and sexual crimes, In: Horvath M, Brown J (eds.), Rape 3 Willan
Chapter. 3. Anger,. disgust. and. sexual. crimes. Roger GinerSorolla and Pascale S. Russell ... of tabloid newspapers that emotions such as anger, disgust or shock often arise when people disapprove of other people's sexual behaviours.
Chakroff A, Russell PS, Piazza J, Young L (2016) From impure to harmful: Asymmetric expectations about immoral agents,Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 69 pp. 201-209 Elsevier
How does information about agents' past violations influence people's expectations about their future actions? We examined this question, with a focus on the contrast between past harmful and past impure actions. Participants' judgments reflected two independent influences: action consistency and expectation asymmetry. An expectation asymmetry was observed across seven studies, including two pilot studies and two supplemental studies: impure agents were judged as more likely to be harmful than harmful agents were judged likely to be impure. This expectation asymmetry is not due to an expectation that impure agents will be globally deviant, i.e., likely to commit all kinds of violations (Study 1), nor is it due to differences in the perceived wrongness or weirdness of harmful versus impure acts (Study 2). Study 3 demonstrated that this asymmetry is not attributable to the perceived harmfulness of impure actions; only impure agents, and not harmful agents, were expected to be more harmful than they were previously. These findings highlight an important asymmetry in the way people make predictions about future wrongdoing: immoral agents are expected to behave consistently, and are also expected to be harmful, regardless of their prior violation.
Moral identity, which is based on moral concerns, is one of the many types of identities that an individual may have. In recent literature, spanning the period from the 1980s to the present - including the work of the prominent researcher into moral identity, Blasi, and Aquino and Reed, who developed their widely used moral identity scale in 2000 - there has been a persistent assumption that fairness and caring, or the individualising moral foundations, comprise the entire contents of moral identity. However, it is well documented that broader cultural differences are considered to have a clear effect on individuals, as cultures vary in the degree to which their norms, values and beliefs influence individual identities. Despite this, no published studies have explored moral identity with respect to culture. Thus, in this thesis, I argued that culture influences people?s moral identity, and that we need to consider and expect more moral variation between people across different cultures. I aimed here to develop an understanding of the importance of culture influence on moral identity in two cultural contexts, those of Britain and Saudi Arabia.
In Study 1 (n=160), I employed the prototype approach, and my results show that traits related to fairness/reciprocity and care/harm were prototypical of the concept of a moral person among both the British and Saudi participants. Meanwhile, respect, as well as traits related to religiousness, were prototypical of the concept of a moral person in only the Saudi sample. In Study 2, (n = 539), participants from each culture were randomly assigned one of six conditions where they completed moral identity measures. In each condition, participants were presented either with a person characterised by the exact moral traits listed in Aquino and Reed?s (2002) moral identity scale, or with a person characterised by moral traits represent one of the five moral foundations. Also, for each condition, the moral traits important in the participants? own culture were examined. The results showed large differences between the British and Saudi samples with regard to three moral foundations: in-group/loyalty; authority/respect and purity/sanctity, all three of which relate to binding concerns. These differences were mediated by the perceived cultural importance of these traits in each sample, particularly the binding traits. In Study 3 (n=938), I developed a novel moral identity scale and tested it for its reliability and validity in overcoming the shortcomings of previous scales used to measure moral identity, particularly the overlooked element of cultural variations in morality. Finally, in Study 4 (n=496), and given that there is an assumption in the literature that moral identity which is based on the individualising moral foundations (particularly caring and fairness) has always pro-social implications. I argued in this study that when we expand our understanding of moral identity to include the long-overlooked binding moral approach (e.g., authority, purity, in-group loyalty), moral identity may relate to negative attitudes toward out-groups. The results supported the idea that we need not take for granted that moral identity contributes to a reduction in prejudice. The results also indicated that the new moral identity scale is better than Aquino and Reed?s (2002) moral identity scale in its ability to predict prejudice attitudes.
Overall, this thesis demonstrates that the contents of moral identity are more diverse than has been assumed in the moral identity research. In addition, the results indicate that there is a need to be mindful of a dark side to moral identity that is often neglected, specifically when we, as researchers, recognise and include various moral concerns in the conceptualisation and measurements of moral identity.