Christopher Ramey

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Psychology
Assistant Professor
Primary office:
Fraser Hall
Room 434
University of Kansas
1415 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
Second office:
Fraser Hall
Room 540



I believe that a teaching philosophy should be demonstrated in the way one approaches course and exam design, lecture preparation, and delivery of class and text material. I structure my courses around the beliefs that (1) Lectures should be informative and engaging and (2) Students should actively critique the empirical and theoretical claims made in psychology. In Kuhn’s (1962, The structure of scientific revolutions) analysis of scientific revolutions, he noted that “[Textbooks] address themselves to an already articulated body of problems, data, and theory, most often to the particular set of paradigms to which the scientific community is committed at the time they are written. Textbooks themselves aim to communicate the vocabulary and syntax of a contemporary scientific language” (p. 136). I encourage my students to realize that textbooks are written by people with certain beliefs–beliefs which should always be questioned. Thus, I encourage my students to explore the tacit assumptions by which scientists’ research is guided. Students should become able to defend a concept or experimental result as if they were the principal researchers involved–or their severest critics. It is with this attitude that I expect students to go beyond what they read. I also ask that my students come to think of experimental psychology (and even statistics) in a historical sense. They need to understand that psychology cannot escape its philosophical underpinnings. That is, to grasp fully concepts used in psychological inquiry, students must be comfortable with basic assumptions that are foundational to various theoretical and methodological inquiries. Psychology is an extremely diverse field. There is a theoretical and methodological home for all of its students. In sum, I want my students to be able to leave my courses with an understanding of the various ways psychologists frame, investigate, and analyze the phenomena in which they are interested, as well as a strong sense of psychology as an empirical discipline.


My research interests are in higher-order cognition and span the cognitive and brain sciences. Research in my lab focuses broadly on the question of how one being evaluates another, even when the other being is fictional or hypothetical. I investigate the relation between exposure to fiction and empathy, the psychology and neuroscience of moral cognition, the costs and benefits of believing in free will, creativity in poetic composition, language as a tool for 'extended' cognition, and the personal and societal implications of neuroscientific research. Sample questions include: How does reading about fictional characters affect the way in which we regard and empathize with real-life individuals, as well as afford them moral worth? How do people produce novel uses of ordinary words to create great poetry (and sometimes quite awful poetry)? How do people categorize a situation as morally worthy of some action or otherwise fail to act? What are the ethical implications of modern neuroscientific findings, and how does this research inform theories of cognition?

Research Interests

  • Cognitive psychology, Moral psychology, Psychology of Fiction, Extended Mind, Neuroethics


I am currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, a quarterly journal published by the American Psychological Association, as well as the Secretary of Division 24 of APA.

Selected Publications

Ramey, C. H. (2015). The extended mind. In H. K. Miller (Ed.), Encyclopedia of theory in psychology (2 Vols) (pp. 322-325). SAGE.

Ramey, C. H., & Chrysikou, E. G. (2014). Coherence, causation, and the future of cognitive neuroscience research. Cognitive Neuroscience, 5, 212-213.

Ramey, C. H., & Chrysikou, E. G. (2014). ‘Not in their right mind’: The relation of psychopathology to the quantity and quality of creative thought. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 835(4pp.).

Ramey, C. H. (2014). [Review essay of the book] Varieties of presence. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 34, 275-278.

Ramey, C. H., Chrysikou, E. G., & Reilly, J. (2013). Snapshots of children’s changing biases during language development: Differential weighting of perceptual and linguistic factors predicts noun age-of-acquisition. Journal of Cognition & Development, 14, 573-592.

Ramey, C. H. (2010). [Review of] Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st century. Philosophical Psychology, 23, 125-129.

Ramey, C. H. (2008). Culture as extended mind and body. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 27(2)-28(1), 146-169.

Reilly, J. Chrysikou, E. G., & Ramey, C. H. (2007). Support for a hybrid model of the age of acquisition of English nouns. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 1164-1170.

Ramey, C. H. (2007). [Review of] Consciousness and its objects. Philosophical Psychology, 20, 547-551.

Ramey, C. H. (2007). [Review of] Creativity in science: Chance, logic, genius, and Zeitgeist. Philosophical Psychology, 20, 135-139.

Ramey, C. H. (2006). An inventory of reported characteristics for home computers, robots, and human beings: Applications for android science and the uncanny valley. In Proceedings of the ICCS/CogSci-2006 Long Symposium: Toward Social Mechanisms of Android Science, July 2006, Vancouver, Canada (pp. 21-25).

Ramey, C. H. (2006). Conscience as a design benchmark in social robots. In Proceedings of RO-MAN 06: The 15th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication: Getting to Know Socially Intelligent Robots, Toward Psychological Benchmarks in Human-Robot Interaction, September 2006, Hatfield, UK (pp. 486-491).

Ramey, C. H. (2005). The uncanny valley of similarities concerning abortion, baldness, heaps of sand, and humanlike robots. In In Proceedings of Views of the Uncanny Valley Workshop: IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, December 2005, Tsukuba, Japan (pp. 8-13).

Ramey, C. H. (2005). ‘For the sake of others’: The ‘personal’ ethics of human-android interaction. In In Proceedings of CogSci-2005 Workshop: Toward Social Mechanisms of Android Science, July 2005, Stresa, Italy (pp. 137-148).

Ramey, C. H. (2005). Did God create psychologists in His image? Re-conceptualizing cognitivism and the subject matter of psychology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 25, 173-190.

Ramey, C. H., & Chrysikou, E. G. (2005). The scientific denial of the real and the dialectic of scientism and humanism. American Psychologist, 60, 346-347.

Reilly, J. Ramey, C. H., & Milsark, G. (2004). Confounds in the distinction between high and low imageability words: Phonological, etymological, and morphological differences. Brain and Language, 91, 147-149.

Ramey, C. H., & Weisberg, R. W. (2004). The ‘poetical activity’ of Emily Dickinson: A further test of the hypothesis that affective disorder enhances creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 16, 173-185.

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