Principal Investigator

I'm an associate professor of psychology at Kadir Has University, Istanbul, and I currently lead the MINT lab — a collaborative interdisciplinary laboratory bringing together my diverse, but integrated, research foci covering the psychology of morality, political psychology, cognitive science of religion, and decision-making areas. My research mainly focuses on dual-process accounts of moral judgment and behavior. More specifically, I try to understand how different cognitive styles (reflection vs. intuition) lead people to adopt certain belief systems such as religious and supernatural beliefs, ideological beliefs, conspiracy theories, free will and determinism beliefs, beliefs about climate change, and several other normative and meta-ethical beliefs. I also try to understand (1) why people believe or disbelieve some supernatural deities, (2) how believing (vs. disbelieving) leads to different moral leanings, and (3) cognitive underpinnings and (4) contextual determinants of diverse moral behaviors such as generosity, cooperation, and group bias.

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Undergraduate Research Assistants

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Graduate Research Assistants

Bengi Aktar (Lab co-manager)

Research Interests: political psychology, conservatism, peace and conflict, veganism

About: She graduated from Istanbul University (BA) and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Berke Aydaş (Lab co-manager)

Research Interests: free will, moral psychology, evolutionary psychology, social cognition

About: He graduated from Dogus University in 2018 and his work focuses on the causes and consequences of meta-ethical beliefs. He is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Dilara Çavdar

Research Interests: political psychology, prosociality and morality, cross-cultural psychology

About: She graduated from Middle East Technical University Psychology Department and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

S. Bengisu Akkurt

Research Interests: social identity, prosociality and morality, cross-cultural psychology, intergroup relations, stigmatized groups

About: She graduated from Istanbul Sehir University (BA) in 2019 and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Doğukan Demircioğlu

Research Interests: economic cognition, the psychology of poverty, judgment and decision making, prosociality and morality, behavioral economics

About: He graduated from Istanbul University (BA) and is currently studying Cognitive Science (MS) at Middle East Technical University under the supervision of Dr. Barbaros Yet and Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Ensar Acem

Research Interests: evolutionary underpinnings of social behavior and cognition, morality, political psychology

About: He graduated from Ankara University (BA) in 2019 and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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İlayda Velioğlu

Research Interests: moral psychology, neurophilosophy, affective neuroscience, statistics

About: She graduated from Dogus University (BA) in 2017 and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Melike Hocaoğlu

Research Interests: moral psychology, theistic metaethics, psychology of religion

About: She graduated from Medipol University (2020) and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Vahdet Sümer

Research Interests: moral psychology, evolutionary psychology, science of religion, moral judgment

About: He graduated from Middle East Technical University and is currently studying Social Psychology (MA) at Kadir Has University under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

Yiğit Aşık (Lab tech)

Research Interests: science of religion, morality, cooperation, stress, resistance to change

About: He is currently doing his major at Dogus University (Istanbul). Majority of his interests include evolutionary psychology and behavioral biology.

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Fırat Şeker

Research Interests: evolutionary psychology, music psychology, moral judgment, social cognition.

About: He is currently doing his psychology major at Dogus University (Istanbul). He is generally interested in evolutionary and social psychology. His other interests are music psychology, and neuropsychology.

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Ebrar Ceylan

Research Interests: cognitive science, religion, morality, non-WEIRD societies

About: He is currently doing his psychology major at Bogazici University (Istanbul).

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Stavroula Koskina

Research Interests: religious terrorism and radicalisation, political psychology, social psychology, social identity and constructions, religion and morality

About: She is an undergraduate student at the psychology faculty of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) and currently an intern (via the Erasmus+ Placement program) at the Moral Intuitions Lab under the supervision of Dr. Onurcan Yılmaz.

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Research Interests: cognitive science of religion, evolutionary psychology, moral cognition, evolution of cooperation

About: He holds a Ph.D. (1998) from Yale University. He is an assistant professor of psychology at Medipol University (Istanbul). His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Evolution and Human Behavior and Cognition.

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Research Interests: political psychology, person perception, interpersonal cognition, intergroup relations

About: He holds a Ph.D. (2008) in Social-Personality Psychology from New York University. He is a full professor of psychology at Kadir Has University (Istanbul) and a musician (see www.adilsaribay.com). His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Cognition, and Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin.

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Research Interests: moral emotions, relational models of morality, naturalistic conceptions of morality, values, moral circle, values and identity

About: She holds a Ph.D. (2008) in Social Psychology from Istanbul University. She is currently a full professor of psychology at Istanbul University. Her research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Personality and Individual Differences and Psychological Reports.

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Research Interests: cooperation, social heuristics hypothesis, moral decision making, social norms

About: He holds a Ph.D. (2009) in Economics from University of California, Riverside. He is an experimental and behavioral economist at Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Behavioural Economics, Society and Technology (BEST), and an external fellow of University of Nottingham's Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx).

Research Interests: self-regulation, morality, motivation goal pursuits, close relationships

About: He holds a Ph.D. (2014) in Social Psychology from Middle East Technical University. He is an assistant professor of psychology at Altınbaş University (Istanbul). His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Journal of Research in Personality, and Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.

Diane Sunar

Research Interests: moral emotions, relationship regulation theory, evolutionary origins of morality, moral circles, moral development

About: She holds a Ph.D. (1973) in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently emeritus professor of psychology at Istanbul Bilgi University. Her work on morality has appeared in Personality and Social Psychology Compass, Current Psychology, and Turkish Journal of Psychology.

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Research Interests: emotional synchrony, interpersonal emotion regulation, modeling interpersonal emotional processes, adult attachment, and moral judgment

About: He holds a Ph.D. (2014) in Social Psychology from Middle East Technical University. He is an associate professor of psychology at Kadir Has University (Istanbul). His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Journal of Research in Personality, and Infant and Child Development.

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Research Interests: political psychology, moral psychology, free will, construal level theory

About: He holds a Ph.D. (2016) in Social Psychology from Middle East Technical University. He is an assistant professor of psychology at Yasar University (Izmir). His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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Beyza Tepe

Research Interests: moral decision making, relational motivations, moral emotions, moral cognitions, perceived injustice, victim perception

About: She holds a Ph.D. (2019) in Social Psychology from Istanbul University in collaboration with the Trinity College, Dublin. She is an assistant professor of psychology at Bahçesehir University (Istanbul). Her research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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Research Interests: behavioral immune system, online dating, age differences

About: He is a Ph.D. student in Social Psychology at University of Connecticut. His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Personality and Individual Differences and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

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Fatih Bayrak

Research Interests: political psychology, morality, intergroup relations, identity

About: He is a Ph.D. student in Social Psychology at Dokuz Eylul University (Izmir). He is a research assistant at Baskent University (Ankara). His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as European Journal of Social Psychology and Personality and Individual Differences. His research interests focus on the relationship between morality and intergroup relations.

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Yunus Bayramoğlu

Research Interests: morality, religion, dietary/ethical lifestyles, veganism, close relationships

About: He graduated from from Kadir Has University, Social Psychology MA program in 2019. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Metin Ege Salter

Research Interests: negativity bias, political ideology, attachment, morality

About: He graduated from Dogus University, Department of Psychology in 2018, and is a graduate student at Kadir Has University, Social Psychology MA program. He is currently investigating the cognitive underpinnings of negativity bias.

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Umut Can Özbek

Research Interests: intuitive altruism, social heuristics hypothesis, moral decision making, prosociality

About: He graduated from Dogus University (2018) and currently working on the effects of intuitive and reflective thought processes on moral decision making.

Lab Alumni

Affiliated Researchers

Members