Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003

Phone: (413) 545-0264
Fax: (413) 545-0996

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
(faculty member at UMass since 1976)
University Distinguished Teaching Award

Ph.D., 1977, Northwestern University


U N I V E R S I T Y  OF  M A S S A C H U S E T T S  AT  A M H E R S T













Editor, Psychological Inquiry: An International Journal for the Advancement of Psychological Theory
(2010 - present))

Research Interests: My current research focuses on the psychology of morality, and in particular the nature of (im)moral motives. In applying a self-regulatory perspective to the moral domain, my students and I have explored two fundamental forms of morality. Proscriptive morality (based in avoidance/inhibition) focuses on what we should not do; it involves restraining a motivation to do something bad, and thus overcoming temptation or desire. Prescriptive morality (based in approach/activation) focuses on what we should do; it requires overcoming inertia and establishing a motivation to do something good. Our research suggests proscriptive morality is condemnatory and strict, whereas prescriptive morality is commendatory and more discretionary. From a broader perspective, proscriptive morality constrains human self-interest and protects a group and its members, whereas prescriptive morality enables human altruism and provides for group members.

We have used this basic motivational distinction to develop a comprehensive model of morality reflecting moral motives focused on the self (self-restraint/moderation, industriousness), another (not harming, helping/fairness), and the group (social order, social justice). My students and I have been investigating the relationship between morality and political ideology, with a particular focus on understanding the moral underpinnings of social order and social justice, the two group-based moralities. We are also exploring the domains of power and prejudice through the lens of morality.

My research on morality is currently supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation: "Moral Regulation: A Dual-System Perspective"

(My past research focused on trauma and posttraumatic growth as well as processes of value creation.)




Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Shattered Assumptions: Towards a New Psychology of Trauma. NY: Free Press.


Selected Articles and Chapters


Carnes, N., Lickel, B., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2015). Shared perceptions: Morality is embedded in social contexts. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 351-362.


Janoff-Bulman, R., Carnes, N., & Sheikh, S. (2014). Parenting and politics: Exploring early moral bases of political orientation. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2, 43-60.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2014). "Getting it right" can also be wrong. In R. Sternberg & S. Fiske (Eds.), Ethical challenges in the behavioral and brain sciences. NY: Cambridge University Press.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Carnes, N. C, (2014). Motivation and morality: Insights into political ideology (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, 316-317.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Carnes, N. C. (2013). Surveying the moral landscape: Moral motives and group-based moralities. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17, 219-236.


Janoff-Bulman, R. & Carnes, N. C. (2013). Moral context matters: A reply to Graham. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17, 242-247.


Sheikh, S., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013). Paradoxical consequences of prohibitions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 301-315.


Parker, M. T., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013). Lessons from morality-based social identity: The power of outgroup "hate," not just ingroup "love." Social Justice Research, 26, 81-96.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013). Elected leaders: Standing firm or standing with us [invited book review]. PsycCRITIQUES, 58, Article 2.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013). Meaning and morality: A natural coupling. In K. D. Markman, T. Proulx, & M. J.Lindberg (Eds.), The psychology of meaning (pp. 191-213). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Janoff-Bulman, R. & Parker, M. (2012). The moral bases of public distrust: Politics, partisanship, and compromise. In R. Kramer & T. Pittinsky (Eds.), Restoring trust: Challenges and prospects (pp. 7-23). NY: Oxford University Press.


Carnes, N. C., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2012). Harm, help, and the nature of (im)moral (in)action. Psychological Inquiry, 23, 137-142.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Sheikh, S. (2011). Unintended consequences of moral "over-regulation." Emotion Review, 3, 325-327.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2011). Conscience: The do's and don'ts of moral regulation. In M. Mikulciner & P. Shaver (Eds.), The social psychology of morality: Exploring the causes of good and evil (pp. 131-148). Washington DC: American psychological Association..


Usoof-Thowfeek, R., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Tavernini, J. (2011). Moral judgments and the role of social harm: Differences in automatic versus controlled processing. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1-6.


Sheikh, S., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2010). Tracing the self-regulatory bases of moral emotions. Emotion Review, 2, 386-396.


Rock, M., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2010). Where do we draw our lines? Politics, rigidity, and the role of self-regulation. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1, 26-33.


Sheikh, S. & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2010). A self-regulatory perspective on shame and guilt. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 213-224.


Janoff-Bulman, R., Sheikh, S., & Hepp, S. (2009). Proscriptive versus prescriptive morality: Two faces of moral regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 521-537.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2009). To provide or protect: Motivational bases of political liberalism and conservatism. Psychological Inquiry, 20, 120-128.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2009). Poltiical attitudes and complexity: Responses from a motivational perspective. Psychological Inquiry, 20, 177-182.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Usoof-Thowfeek, R. (2009). Shifting moralities: Post 9/11 responses to shattered national assumptions. In M. Morgan (Ed.), The impact of 9-11: The day that changed everything? (vol. 5, pp. 81-96). NY: Palgrave Macmillan.


Janoff-Bulman, R., Sheikh, S., & Baldacci, K (2008). Mapping moral motives: Approach, avoidance, and political orientation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1091-1099.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Werther, A. (2008). The social psychology of respect: Implications for delegitimization and reconciliation. In A. Nadler, T. Malloy, & J. Fisher (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Reconciliation, pp. 145-170. NY: Oxford University Press.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2008). Erroneous assumptions: Popular belief in the effectiveness of torture interrogation. Peace and Conflict, Special Issue: "Torture," 13, 429-436.


Lillie, C., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2007). Macro versus micro justice and perceived fairness of truth and reconcilaition commissions. Peace and Conflict, 13, 221-236.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Sheikh, S. (2006). From national trauma to moralizing nation. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Special Issue: In the Era of 9/11: Social Psychology and Security, 28, 325-332.


Berger, A. R., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2006). Costs and satisfaction in close relationships: the role of loss-gain framing.Personal Relationships, 13, 53-68.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2006). Schema-change perspectives on posttraumatic growth. In L. G. Calhoun & R. G. Tedeschi (Eds.), Handbook of Posttraumatic Growth: Research and Practice. Mahweh, NJ: Erlbaum.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Yopyk, D. (2004). Random outcomes and valued commitments: Existential dilemmas and the paradox of meaning. To be published in J. Greenberg, S. L. Koole, & T. Pyszczynski (Eds.), Handbook of Experimental Existential Psychology. NY: Guilford.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2004). Posttraumatic growth: Three explanatory models. Psychological Inquiry, 15, 30-34.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Leggatt, H. (2002). Culture and social obligation: When "shoulds" are perceived as "wants." Journal of Research in Personality, 36, 260-270.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (2001). Being of two minds: Dual-process theories in social psychology. Contemporary Psychology, 46, 86-88.


Berg, M., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Cotter, J. (2001). Perceiving value in obligations and goals: Wanting to do what should be done. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 982-995.


Frantz, C. M., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2000). Considering both sides: The limits of perspective-taking. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 22, 31-42.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Berger, A. R. (2000). The other side of trauma: Towards a psychology of appreciation. In J. Harvey & E. D. Miller (Eds.), Loss and Trauma Handbook. NY: Bruner/Mazel.


Styron, T. H., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Davidson, L. (2000)."Please ask me how I am": Experiences of family homelessness in the context of single mothers' lives. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 9, 143-165.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1999). Rebuilding shattered assumptions after traumatic events: Coping processes and outcomes. In C.R. Snyder (Ed.), Coping: The Psychology of What Works.NY: Oxford University Press.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Berg, M. (1998). Disillusionment and the creation of value: From traumatic losses to existential gains. In J. Harvey (Ed.), Perspectives on Loss: A Sourcebook. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1998). From terror to appreciation: Confronting chance after extreme misfortune. Psychological Inquiry, 9, 99-101.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Frantz, C. M. (1997). The impact of trauma on meaning: From meaningless world to meaningful life. In M. Power & C. Brewin (Eds.), The Transformation of Meaning in Psychological Therapies: Integrating Theory and Practice. Sussex, England: Wiley & Sons.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1997). Understanding reactions to traumatic life events. The Harvard Mental Health Newsletter, vol. 14, No.4.


Styron, T., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1997). Childhood attachment and abuse: Long-term effects on adult attachment, depression, and conflict resolution. Child Abuse & Neglect:The International Journal, 21, 1015-1023.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Frantz, C. M. (1996). The loss of illusions: The potent legacy of trauma. Journal of Personal and Interpersonal Loss, 1, 133-150.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Wade, M. B. (1996). The dilemma of self-advocacy for women: Another case of blaming the victim? Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 15, 143-153.


Coats, E., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Alpert, N. (1996). Approach versus avoidance goals: Differences in self-evaluation and well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 1057-1067.


Klein, I., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1996). Trauma history and personal narratives: Some clues to coping among survivors of child abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, 20, 45-54.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1996). The world assumptions scale. In B. H. Stamm (Ed.), Measurement of Stress, Trauma and Adaptation. Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1995). Victims of violence. In G. S. Everly, Jr. & J. M. Lating (Eds.), Psychotraumatology: Key Papers and Core Concepts in Post-Traumatic Stress. NY: Plenum.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Morgan, H. J. (1994. Victims' responses to traumatic life events: An unjust or an uncaring world? Social Justice Research, 7, 47-68.


Morgan, H. J., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1994). Positive and negative self-complexity: Patterns of adjustment following traumatic versus non-traumatic life experiences. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 13, 63-85.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1993). "Assuring a focus on people at the World Summit for Social Development." Written on behalf of SPSSI for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, distributed in accordance with Economic and Social Council Resolution 1296.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1993). The faces of injustice. Social Justice Research, 6, 235-239.


Carnelley, K. B., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Optimism and love relationships: General vs. specific lessons from one's personal experiences. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, 5-20.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1992). Happystance. A review of Subjective Well-Being: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Contemporary Psychology, 37,162-163.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Schwartzberg, S. S. (1991). Toward a general model of personal change: Applications to victimization and psychotherapy. In C. R. Snyder & D. R. Forsyth (Eds.), Handbook of Social and Clinical Psychology: The Health Perspective. NY: Pergamon.


Schwartzberg, S. S., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1991). Grief and the search for meaning: Exploring the assumptive worlds of bereaved college students. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 10, 270-288.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1991). Understanding people in terms of their assumptive worlds. In D. J. Ozer, J. M. Healy, & A. J. Stewart (Eds.), Perspectives on Personality: Personality and the Self. London: Jessica Kingsley.


Franklin K. M., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Roberts, J. E. (1990). Long-term impact of parental divorce on trust and optimism: Changes in general assumptions or narrow beliefs? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 743-755.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Thomas, C. (1989). Towards an understanding of self-defeating responses following victimization. In R. Curtis (Ed.), Self-Defeating Behaviors: Experimental Research, Clinical Impressions, and Practical Implications. NY: Plenum.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1989). Assumptive worlds and the stress of traumatic events: Applications of the schema construct. Social Cognition, Special Issue: Social Cognition and Stress, 7, 113-136.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1989). The benefits of illusions, the threat of disillusionment and the limits of inaccuracy. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 8, 158-176.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Lang-Gunn, L. (1988). Coping with diseases and accidents: The role of self-blame attributions. In L. Y. Abramson (Ed.), Social Cognition and Clinical Psychology. NY: Guilford.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Hecker, B. (1988). Depression, vulnerability, and world assumptions. In L. B. Alloy (Ed.), Cognitive Processes in Depression. NY: Guilford.


Padawer, J., Fagan, C., Janoff-Bulman, R., Strickland, B., & Chorowski, M. (1988). Women's psychological adjustment following emergency cesarean versus vaginal delivery. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 12, 25-34.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1988). Victims of violence. In S. Fisher & J. Reason (Eds.), Handbook of Life Stress, Cognition and Health. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.


Brickman, P., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Rabinowitz, V. C. (1987). Meaning and value. In P. Brickman and Associates (Eds.), Commitment, Conflict, and Caring. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Timko, C. (1987). Coping with traumatic life events: The role of denial in light of people's assumptive worlds. In C. R. Snyder & C. Ford (Eds.), Coping with Negative Life Events: Clinical and Social Psychological Perspectives. NY: Plenum.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Frieze, I. H. (1987). The role of gender in reactions to criminal victimization. In R. Barnett, L. Biener, & G. Baruch (Eds.), Gender and Stress. NY: Free Press.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Timko, C. (1985). Working with victims: Changes in the researcher's assumptive world. In A. Baum, J. E. Singer, and S. Valins (Eds.), Advances in Environmental Psychology (Vol. 5). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Janoff-Bulman, R., Timko, C., & Carli, L. (1985). Cognitive biases in blaming the victim. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 21, 161-177.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1985). The aftermath of victimization: Rebuilding shattered assumptions. Trauma and Its Wake:The Sudy and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. NY: Brunner/Mazel.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1985). Criminal vs. non-criminal victimization: Victims' reactions. Victimology: An International Journal, 10, 498-511.


Timko, C., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1985). Attributions, vulnerability, and psychological adjustment: The case of breast cancer. Health Psychology, 4, 521-544.


Janoff-Bulman, R., Madden, M., & Timko, C. (1983). Victims' reactions to aid: The role of perceived vulnerability. In A. Nadler, J. D. Fisher, & B. M. DePaulo (Eds.), Applied Perspectives on Help-Seeking and Receiving. NY: Academic Press.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Frieze, I. H. (Eds.) (1983). Journal of Social Issues: Reactions to victimization. NY: Plenum.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Frieze, I. H. (1983). A theoretical perspective for understanding reactions to victimization. Journal of Social Issues, 39, 1-17.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Brickman, P. (1982). Expectations and what people learn from failure. In N. Feather (Ed.), Expectations and Actions: Expectancy-Value Models in Psychology.Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1982). Esteem and control bases of blame: Adaptive strategies for victims versus observers. Journal of Personality, 50, 180-191.


Janoff-Bulman, R., & Marshall, G. (1982). Mortality, well-being, and control in a population of institutionalized elderly. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 8, 691-698.


Madden, M., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1981). Blame, control, and marital satisfaction: Wives' attributions for conflict in marriage. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 43, 663-674.


Wortman, C. B., Silver, R. L., Holland, A. E., Abbey, A., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1980).Transitions from the laboratory to the field: Problems and progress. In L. Bickman (Ed.), Applied Social Psychology Annual. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.


Janoff-Bulman, R. (1979). Characterological versus behavioral self-blame: Inquiries into depression and rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1798-1809.


Janoff-Bulman, R., Lang, L., & Johnston, D. (1979). Participant-observer differences in attributions for an ambiguous victimization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 5, 335-339.


Strickland, B., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1979). Expectancies and attributions: Implications for community mental health. In M. Gibbs, J. R., Lachenmeyer, & J. Sigal (Eds.), Community Psychology: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches. NY: Gardner Press.


Brickman, P., & (Janoff-) Bulman, R. (1977). Pleasure and pain in social comparison. In R. L. Miller and J. M. Suls (Eds.), Social Comparison Processes: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.


Brickman, P., Coates, D., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1978). Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36,917-927.


(Janoff-) Bulman, R., & Wortman, C. B. (1977). Attributions of blame and coping in the "real world": Severe accident victims react to their lot. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 351-363.

UMass Department of Psychology
UMass Personality and Social Psychology Division
Undergraduate Studies