Would You Be Happier if You Were More Moral?; Jessie Sun, PhD

Does the pursuit of morality come at a cost to personal well-being? Several conceptualizations of morality emphasize its role in regulating or sacrificing the pursuit of one’s own interests for the sake of others. This might imply that being and becoming more moral would be personally costly. In this talk, however, I present empirical evidence showing that 1) moral people tend to experience more happiness and meaning in life and that 2) people believe that becoming more moral would contribute positively to various aspects of their well-being. I will discuss the implications and limitations of this research in relation to the broader question of when morality and well-being are likely to go hand in hand and when they might come into conflict with one another.

Dr. Jessie Sun is an assistant professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, where she directs the Well-Being and Morality Lab. Her research examines 1) social experiences and well-being, 2) morality and well-being, and 3) moral improvement. Prior to joining WashU, she was a MindCORE postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and she received her Ph.D. from UC Davis and her BA from the University of Melbourne. In her personal life, she strives to promote well-being by living vegan and has pledged to give to the most effective animal welfare and global poverty causes.


Unedited Video