Paul Bloom is named the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor

Paul Bloom, the newly designated Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with a focus on morality, religion, fiction and art.

He is the author or editor of four books, including “How Children Learn the Meanings of Words,” “Descartes’ Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains What Makes Us Human” and “How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like.” His current research examines why adults are natural dualists (believing in bodies and souls), the human capacity to make sense of artwork and fiction, and the interplay between deliberative reasoning and the moral emotions (such as why humans condemn certain acts as immoral and how children make judgments about fair and unfair distribution of resources). Much of his research is interdisciplinary.

Bloom has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for media outlets such as The New York Times, the Guardian and the Atlantic.

Bloom earned a B.A. from McGill University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at Brandeis University and the University of Arizona before joining the Yale faculty in 1999. He has been a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, Korea University, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and University College London. At Yale, he has served as director of undergraduate studies in cognitive science and of undergraduate studies in psychology.

Bloom has won numerous awards for his books, including the Eleanor Maccoby Award from the American Psychological Association for both “Descartes’ Baby” and “How Children Learn the Meanings of Words.” His teaching has been recognized with the Lex Hixon Prize for teaching excellence in the social sciences and his appointment this year as a DeVane Lecturer (one of the University’s top honors). Also the recipient of the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Bloom has received many grants and fellowships for his research, including ones from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.

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