Moral Motives & STEM-informed Action

An ongoing conversation between science theorists and communicators from informal learning institutions on motivations for engaging in STEM-informed action

by John VoiklisJena Barchas-LichtensteinBennett AttawayUduak Grace ThomasNicole LaMarca
Apr 14, 2022

Researchers often assume that people choose to learn for one of two reasons: dispassionate interest in the subject, or some kind of drive for achievement or mastery. But this story is incomplete -- what about motivations for learning that are connected to our desire to protect other people or support their wellbeing?

Between January and April 2022, we brought together social science theorists and science communicators from informal learning institutions. The goal is to have them talk directly to each other about what questions matter most for science communication and what answers theoretical research might provide.

We are currently editing the open-access proceedings -- which will include provocations for both informal STEM learning and moral psychology, dialogues between participants, and individual reflections. As we complete each chapter, the documents will be available here.

Table of Contents

Voiklis et al., “ The Origins of the Moral Motives Conference: Public Health Behavior


  • Lisa Chalik, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Yeshiva University, Stern College for Women
  • Michelle Ciurria, Visiting Scholar, University of Missouri St. Louis
  • Jason Corwin, Clinical Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo Department of Indigenous Studies
  • Colleen Cotter, Professor in Media Linguistics, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Kevin Crowley, Professor of Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh
  • Ronnie Janoff-Bulman, social psychologist and Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Martina Efeyini, civic scientist, science communicator, STEM diversity education advocate, & Civic Science Fellow, Science News
  • Jacklyn Grace Lacey, museum professional
  • Reyhaneh Maktoufi, Science Communication and Outreach Fellow, hhmi | Tangled Bank Studios
  • Bertram Malle, Professor of Psychology, Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences; Co-Director, Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative. Brown University
  • Jo-Elle Mogerman, zoo administrator, scientist, and informal educator
  • Laura Niemi, Assistant Professor, Cornell University
  • Laura Santhanam, journalist, PBS NewsHour
  • John Voiklis, Research Lead: Behaviors, Norms, & Processes, Knology

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

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