Alumni Profile: Kurt Gray

Kurt Gray

BSc ’03 Psychology/Science, minor in Earth SciencesKurt Gray

Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Dr. Gray is a leading scholar in the field of social cognition, earning his PhD in 2010 from Harvard University. He investigates the mysterious inner lives of animals, machines, and human beings. His research has produced ground-breaking insights into how people perceive others’ minds and has discovered that minds are a matter of perception—how else can we make sense of people treating cats like humans, and homeless people like objects? Gray’s work has also revealed the psychological basis of moral judgment, the origins of social groups, and the roots of religious belief.

His research investigates how people make decisions when lives hang in balance. His work suggests that moral judgements—themselves subjective—hinges upon another subjective process: mind perception. In his almost 40 peer-reviewed articles, he has explored links between perception and mortality.

 In addition to his numerous academic publications, he has received many national grants, and co-authored a popular press book: The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why it Matters (Viking, 2016).  He has been awarded the International Social Cognition Network Best Paper Award and Early Career Award, the Association for Psychological Science Janet Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Research, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Theoretical Innovation Award.