Piercarlo Valdesolo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology

Areas of Expertise:
Social Psychology

Piercarlo Valdesolo
(909) 607-7825
(909) 621-8419
Seaman Hall 219
  • Biography
  • Education
  • Awards and Affiliations
  • Research and Publications

Piercarlo Valdesolo is an associate professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College and the director of CMC’s Moral Emotions and Trust Lab (MEATLab). His research studies the mechanisms underlying moral judgment and behavior with a particular focus on the role of emotions in our moral lives. His work asks questions like: What drives moral hypocrisy? How does awe influence attitudes towards religious belief? For whom do we feel compassion and why? Piercarlo has a B.A. from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Northeastern University. His work has been featured in news outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Time, and USA Today, and he is a contributor to Scientific American. He has been named a rising star by the Association for Psychological Science and is co-author of the book Out of Character.


B.A., Amherst College; M.S., Ph.D., Northeastern University
  • Association for Psychological Science "Rising Star", 2013.

  • Valdesolo, P. & DeSteno, D.A. (2006). Manipulations of Emotional Context Shape Moral Decision Making. Psychological Science, 17 (6), 476-477.

  • Valdesolo, P. & DeSteno, D.A. (2007). Moral Hypocrisy: Social Groups and the Flexibility of Virtue. Psychological Science, 18 (8), 689-690.

  • Valdesolo, P. & DeSteno, D.A. (2011). Synchrony and the Social Tuning of Compassion. Emotion, 11, 262-266.

  • Valdesolo, P. & Graham, J.G. (2014) Awe, Uncertainty and Agency Detection. Psychological Science.

  • Lerner, J., Li, Y., Valdesolo. P, & Kassam, K. (2015) Emotion and Decision Making. Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 66, 799-823. 

  • Valdesolo, P., Park, J.* & Gottlieb, S. (2016) Awe and Scientific Explanation, Emotion, 16(7), 937-940.

  • Valdesolo, P., Shtulman, A. & Baron, A. (in press). Science is Awe-some: Emotional Antecedents of Science Learning. Emotion Review. 

  • Rai, T., Valdesolo, P., & Graham, J. (in press). Dehumanization predicts instrumental, not moral violence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.