Jacob Pappas

Jacob Pappas

Jacob Pappas

Part-Time Faculty

Humanities & Social Sciences

(734) 973-5009

About Jacob Pappas

My name is Jacob Pappas, and I am currently a doctoral candidate in Oakland University's experimental psychology program. My prior teaching experience comes from two semesters of teaching Introduction to Psychology as a graduate instructor at OU, where I will be teaching classes in social psychology and personality psychology in the coming academic year. My pedagogical philosophy is that students learn best when they are taught how to apply information; by providing real-life examples of the principles covered in my courses, and later challenging students to apply these principles to real-life settings, I ensure that students cannot only describe the phenomena covered, but also understand what they mean for their every day life.

Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, 2016

Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Master's of Science in Psychology, 2020

Oakland University, MI.
Doctorate of Science in Psychology (Currently attending)

Pappas, J. (2019). Nuptial Gift. In: Vonk J., Shackelford T.(eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer. Vonk, J., Edge, J., Pappas, J., Robeson, A., and Jordan, A. (2020). When comparing apples to oranges is fruitful: Cross species comparisons. In T.K. Shackelford (Ed) Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Sage.
Pappas, J. (2020). A Moral Mult-Tool: A validation of the Comprehensive Instrument Measuring Morality. [Master’s thesis].

Pappas, J., Eaton, T., and Vonk, J. (May ,2019) Are Quilled Animals Sharper Than Bear-cats? Behavioral Flexibility in Porcupines and Binturongs. Paper presented at the 2019 TriState(Plus) Conference on Animal

Learning and Behavior, Rochester, MI.

Pappas, J., O’Connor, T. and Eaton, T. (March, 2020). An Assessment of Behavioral Flexibility in Binturongs. Poster presented at the 2020 Oakland University Graduate Conference, Rochester, Mi.

Pappas, J.& Vonk, J. (2021). Examining the Associations Between Moral Cognition, Perception of Police, and Racism in a Black and White America. Poster presented at the SPSP Morality and Justice Preconference. https://meeting.spsp.org/2021/preconferences/justice-and-morality

Pappas, J. & Vonk, J. (2021). The Moral Divide: The Role of Racist Attitudes and Conservative Versus Liberal Values in Predicting Perceptions of the Police. Poster presented at the 2021 Oakland University Graduate Conference.

Pappas, J, & Vonk, J, (2022). Ill-Founded Loyalty: Ingroup Loyalty and Moral Disengagement Predict Unsanctioned Pandemic Activity. Poster presented at the SPSP 2022 Conference.

My research interests encompass several distinct but overlapping areas of study. I am interested in moral cognition, particularly the differences in intuitive and deliberative reasoning. As a moral psychologist, I am also interested in correlates of moral cognition, including theory of mind (the ability to take the intellectual perspective of others), empathy (the ability to take the affective perspective of others), and moral foundations (distinct areas of morality than individuals differentially prioritize). I have worked previously in a clinical setting with individuals with autism, and am interested in the unique cognitive style that characterizes these individuals. More generally, I am interested in neurodivergence, or the concept that traits traditionally considered neurodevelopmental disorders are not necessarily disordered, but reflect differences in cognitive style that do not necessarily flourish in modern environments. Finally, I believe that, like all other animals, humans are the product of evolution by natural selection, and that by adopting an evolutionary psychological perspective, we can gain greater insight into the human mind and behavior. That is, I take an evolutionary approach to questions of both moral psychology ("Which selective pressures may have shaped the human capacity for moral cognition?") and neurodivergence ("Given their prevalence, could there have been adaptive value in the atypical cognitive styles (e.g., autism, ADHD) that are traditionally labeled neurodevelopmental disorders?").