Prof. Kristen Monroe
On February 17, the Libraries featured UCI Professor Kristen Monroe in a “Meet the Author Luncheon” that highlighted her compelling research in the area of altruism and social identity.
Dr. Monroe is Professor of Political Science and Philosophy and Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality at UCI, and is the author or editor of eight books. She discussed her latest book, The Hand of Compassion: Portraits of Moral Choice during the Holocaust, in which she examines why some people risked their lives to help Jews during World War II. She concludes that rescuers were driven not by religion or reason but through identity.
Elizabeth Stahr & Carole Bailey
“Identity and the way people view themselves in relation to others are critical factors in moral choice,” said Monroe, “It is the ability to categorize other people into separate classifications from ourselves, that can begin a process of dehumanization.” Her research shows that for altruists, seeing themselves and others as connected, as part of all humankind, is the motivating factor in how they treat others. By understanding the importance of self-perception and the cognitive process of dehumanization, people can learn how to re-conceptualize their identity in terms that restore humanity to others.
The event was held at the Village Park Clubhouse in Irvine and was hosted by Library Partner Carole Bailey. “It was my pleasure to host this event for the Libraries,” said Carole, “and to share with others the fascinating research that is being done at UCI.”