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Graduate Students

Courtney Ball

Courtney Ball

Graduate Student
Entry Year: 2010-2011
Faculty Mentor(s): Judith Smetana

495 Meliora Hall
(585) 275-9148
Fax: (585) 273-1100

Research Overview

I am broadly interested in moral development, with a specific research interest in moral emotions. While emotions and judgments are often treated as dichotomous and even conflicting influences on an individual, I hope to explore the interaction between the two in order to better understand what role emotions play in the formation of one's moral judgments. Further, working from a domain theory framework, I would like to examine how the role of emotions such as empathy and sympathy may qualitatively differ in the moral domain relative to the conventional domain.

I am currently the Project Coordinator for "Because I said so! Parents' versus children's authority" a cross-cultural study between Americal children and children in Hong Kong which assesses how children understand parental authority and when they must obey versus when they can exercise personal choice. I am also a research assistant for Project CONNECT, a longitudinal study being conducted through Dr. Melissa Sturge-Apple's lab. We are currently in the second wave of data collection and are obtaining data for mothers and their 3.5 year old children on a number of variables including heart rate, temperament, theory of mind, and the children's understanding of morality and convention. The social events interview conducted as part of Project CONNECT will be the foundation of my two-year project examining whether empathetic responding predicts moral judgments.

Selected Publications


  • Ball, C., Lapsley, D., & Stey, P. (2011). The Moral Identity Q-Sort and Prosocial Behavior in Emerging Adulthood in a Paper Discussion Symposium at SRA chaired by Drika Makaniev.


  • Teaching Assistant: Abnormal Psychology, Spring 2011
  • Teaching Assistant: Developmental Psychopathology, Fall 2010


  • 2010 - Senior Recognition Award in Psychology; University of Notre Dame
  • 2010 - Senior Honors Thesis, University of Notre Dame
  • 2010 - Graduated Magna Cum Laude, University of Notre Dame
  • Psi Chi Honors Society

Additional Information

M.A., University of Rochester