• What I do


    Hi, I'm Amanda Rotella. I'm a Lecturer in Social/Health Psychology at Kingston University London.

    Research Overview

    Broadly, I conduct reseearch in judgment and decision-making, with a focus on how social competition impacts various social and health outcomes.


    I am interested in a variety of topics, including morality, cooperation, signaling, social comparisons, and inequality. Within these topics, I investigate how individual differences (personality; wise reasoning; relative deprivation) interact with contextual factors. I also rearch how social competition influences cultural change, where I use historical data to investigate change within cultures over time.


    My research is interdisciplinary, often exploratory, drawing on diverse fields (social/personality psychology; evolutionary psychology; organizational behaviour; behavioral economics; behavioral ecology; health psychology; cognitive science) and employs a variety of methodological approaches (behavioral experiments; experimental economics; meta-analysis; longitudinal analyses of time-series data; and survey methods).


    Take a look at my CV

    Google Scholar

    Scientific Values

    Transparency and Open Science

    I value scientific transparency and am dedicated to open science. All my projects have been preregistered on the Open Science Framework, I make all my data and R scripts openly available, and upload preprints of my articles to make them accessible free of charge.


    Collaboration and Intellectual Curiosity

    I conduct interdisciplinary research, which is greatly strengthened through collaboration. Often, the most innovative and impactful research results from integrating diverse viewpoints and ideas. As such, I actively collaborate with international researchers from diverse fields on a variety of new and exciting projects.


    Teaching and Mentorship

    I am passionate about teaching and find working with students rewarding. I thoughtfully integrate mentorship into my research practices, in goal of helping students build skills, achieve their goals, and advance their careers.

  • Research Interests



    Broadly, I research the foundational aspects of morality, with a focus on cooperative behavior, moral judgments and decisions, and processes that promote prosociality, such as wise reasoning. By understanding and applying this knowledge, we can promote collective well-being, such as environmental protection, or to reduce behaviors that harm society such as xenophobia.

    Cultural Change

    In the social sciences, there are important theories about the origins and evolution of culture and how social and ecological processes have shaped human nature. To understand how culture and ecology influence psychological processes, I study and model change in cultural and psychological processes.


    Scientific Methods

    Research methods impact how participants behave in experiments, yet many design decisions are based on untested assumptions in our respective fields. I seek to better understand how participants respond in psychological studies by researching common methodologies, in goal of making better decisions for experimental design.

  • Publications

    Click on paper titles to open them in a new tab

    Published (or Accepted Publications)

    • Rotella, A., Sparks, A., Mishra, S., & Barclay, P. (in press). No effect of ‘watching eyes’: An attempted replication and extension investigating individual differences. PLoS ONE.
    • Kara-Yakoubian M., Rotella, A., Dorfman A., Grossmann I. (2021). Wisdom. In: Glăveanu V.P. (eds). The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98390-5_169-1  [PUBLISHER LINK]
    • Tierney, W., Hardy, J. H., III., Ebersole, C., Viganola, D., Clemente, E., Gordon, M., Hoogeveen, S., Haaf, J., Dreber, A.A., Johannesson, M., Pfeiffer, T., Chapman, H., Gantman, A., Vanaman, M., DeMarree, K., Igou, E., Wylie, J., Storbeck J., Andreychik, M.R., McPhetres, J., Vaughn, L.A., *Culture and Work Forecasting Collaboration, & Uhlmann, E. L. (2021). A creative destruction approach to replication: Implicit work and sex morality across cultures. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. *I am included as an author under the Forecasting Collaboration

    Submitted or Under Review (available on request)

    • Rotella, A., Jung, J., Chinn, C., & Barclay, P. (revise and resubmit). Observation and moral ambiguity matter: A meta-analysis on moral licensing.
    • Hutcherson, C., Sharpinskyi, C., Varnum, M. E. W., Rotella, A., Wormley, A., Tay, L., & Grossmann, I. (under review). Behavioral scientists and laypeople misestimate societal effects of COVID-19. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/g8f9s [PREPRINT]
    • Chuong, K. H., Rotella, A., Cooper, E. J., O’Doherty, K. C. (submitted). Public engagement on childhood vaccination: Democratizing policy decision-making through public deliberation. In: Democratizing Risk Governance: Bridging Science, Expertise, Deliberation and Public Values. Palgrave Macmillan.

    Selected Working Papers (available on request)

    • Rotella, A., & Mishra, S.  (working paper). Personal relative deprivation negatively predicts engagement in group decision-making. [PREPRINT]
    • Rotella, A., & Barclay, P.  (working paper). Mating competition and cooperation: Restricted mating strategies are associated with prosociality.
  • "Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion"



  • Conferences

    View my presentations; just click the links.

    Selected Posters and Talks

  • "Access to information is a human right, but is often treated as privilege. This has to change - and it will take all of us to make it happen"



  • Teaching

    My engage in the learning process – not just memorization – as I encourage them to engage in the messy process of inquiry. My goal is that they learn how to think, rather than what to think, and I create opportunities to make this happen.

    Teaching Experiences

    Course Instructor and Teaching Assistant

    I have been a course instructor for two undergraduate courses at the University of Guelph (listed below). Beyond that, I have 10 years of experience as a seminar-based teaching assistant.

    •  Making Sense of Data in Psychological Research (Fall 2019)
      • An introductory course in statistics and research methods
    • Conflict: Cooperation or Competition? (Fall 2018)
      • An interdisciplinary course in cooperation and competition, drawing on social psychology, organizational behavior, behavioral economics, anthropology, and evolutionary biology

    Teaching Interests

    Teaching Philosophy and Areas of Interest

    I endeavor to learn and research effective teaching strategies because I strive to achieve excellence in teaching. I aim to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles and to motivate them to connect with the course material. I use these strategies to a single end: to facilitate an effective, inclusive, equitable, and enjoyable learning experience for every student. My overall objective is to help students reach their goals and attain the desired learning outcomes.


    I am an interdisciplinary researcher and am broadly interested in social behaviour. As a result, I am interested in teaching a wide variety of topics; these include (but are not limited to) social psychology, organizational behavior, and research methods.

  • "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."



  • Education

    Ph.D. (2020)


    My dissertation work examined individual differences influence cooperative judgments and decisions, advised by Pat Barclay. I was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

    M.Sc. (2016)


    Under the guidance of Pat Barclay, my master’s dissertation investigated how cooperative decision making is influenced by reputation [PDF]. My Master's research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

    B.Sc. (2011)

    Biological Sciences and Psychology

    In 2011 I completed a B.Sc. in Biology combined with Psychology Honours degree with First Class Standing.

  • Collaborators

    Check out some of my collaborators, they do some excellent research!

    Associate Professor

    University of Waterloo


    Igor is a social-cognitive scientist studying sound judgment and wisdom across cultures. His work utilizes methods at the intersection of big data analytics, psycho-physiology, diary surveys, and experiments.

    Associate Professor

    University of Guelph


    Pat investigates the evolution of human cooperation and risk-taking. His research program draws from evolutionary biology, animal behaviour, mathematical game theory, experimental & behavioural economics, and social psychology.

    Associate Professor

    University of Guelph


    Sandeep's research explores diverse and interdisciplinary questions in the areas of decision-making, individual differences, and mental health.

    Postdoctoral Researcher

    University of Waterloo


    Anna is interested in social behavior, inequality, and morality. Her research focuses on questions such as when and how people choose social interests over self-interest, which psychological factors impact reactions to inequality, and how can people make better decisions.

    Ph.D. Candidate

    Central European University


    Mia’s work addresses contextual cues which influence partner-choice decisions, and the evolutionary rationale for these decisions. She is asking questions such as: Are people "rational" advertisers? and, are self-presentation strategies finely tuned to audiences?

    Postdoctoral Fellow



    Adam studies emotions and other psychological mechanisms underlying social behavior, usually by leveraging evolutionary functional theories about cooperation, conflict, and risk taking.

  • Connect With Me

    Follow me on social media, or send me an email at amanda.mrotella@gmail.com.