Francesco Margoni

Førsteamanuensis i psykologi

Institutt for sosialfag - Room A-230 (First floor)
Det samfunnsvitenskapelige fakultet
Institutt for sosialfag
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Please see here below


Academic Interests

My general research program sits at the intersection of moral, socio-cultural, cognitive, philosophical and developmental psychology. In a nutshell, I try to understand the most basic representations and motives of moral, social and cultural psychology.

In my research, I use a combination of methods that includes: behavioral looking time measures and action tasks with infants (0-2 years), child-friendly vignettes and experimental economic games with preschool- and school-age children, large-scale surveys and questionnaires with various adult populations (elderly participants included), meta-analysis.

Main broad areas of interest are:

  • Moral development (Here an example , where we found that infants can tell the difference between legitimate leadership and coercive bullying; here is another  example , where we found that 3-year-olds can generate intent-based moral judgments)

  • Aging (Here an example , where we report evidence of an intent-to-outcome shift in moral judgment during old age)

  • Sex differences  (Here an example , where we report meta-analytic evidence that male and female infants do not differ in their tendency to prefer prosociality over antisociality)


Student Supervision (UiS)

Students who seek supervision for their Bachelor's or Master's thesis are welcome to contact me (francesco.margoni at You can either join one of the several ongoing research projects in the Lab or propose a new project or topic yourself. I accept both literature review theses and students willing to volunteer in the Lab and collect data to deliver a stellar empirical research thesis . I also welcome students who simply wish to gain hands-on experience with research without using the data for the thesis.


Stavanger Baby Lab (see here )

We study how children in the first two years of life develop their cognitive competences and their social understanding. We aim to unveil the most fundamental and basic representations that infants use to start navigating the social world and to learn from experience how to adapt to the social norms prevailing in their cultural context.


Higher Education and Employment History (see full CV )

2022– Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Stavanger

2020–2022 Postdoctoral researcher, University of Oslo

2020–2022 Adjunct postdoc, Aarhus University

2017–2020 Postdoctoral researcher, University of Trento

2013–2016 PhD in Developmental Psychology, University of Trento

2009–2012 Master in Philosophy, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University

2006–2009 Bachelor in Psychology, University of Padua


Main External Cooperation Partners

Lotte Thomsen , University of Oslo

Luca Surian , University of Trento

Renée Baillargeon , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Elena Nava , University of Milan-Bicocca

Janet Geipel , University of Exeter

Teneille Brown , University of Utah

Isu Cho , Brandeis University


Teaching at UiS

BPS320 - Knowledge Development and Research Design

BPS140 - Developmental Psychology module

BPS130 - Methods in Psychology module



- Margoni, F., Surian, L. & Baillargeon, R. (2023). The Violation-of-Expectation paradigm: A conceptual overview. Psychological Review.

- Margoni, F., Geipel, J., Hadjichristidis, C., Bakiaj, R., & Surian, L. (2023). Age-related differences in moral judgment: The role of probability judgments. Cognitive Science, 47, e13345.

Margoni, F., & Brown, T. (2023). Jurors use mental state information to assess breach in negligence cases. Cognition, 236, 105442.

- Fonn, E., Zahl, J., Kristensen, B., Margoni, F., & Thomsen, L. (2023). No single notion of cooperation explains when we respect ownership. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

- Nava, F., Margoni, F. , Herath, N., & Nava, E. (2023). Age-dependent changes in intuitive cooperative behavior. Scientific Reports, 13, 4457.

Margoni, F.* , Block, K.*, Hamlin, K., Zmyj, N., & Schmader, T. (2023). Meta-analytic evidence against sex differences in infants' preference for prosocial agents. Developmental Psychology , 59 , 229-235. (*equal contribution)

- Margoni, F* , Cho, I.*, & Gutchess, A. (2023). Intent-based moral judgment in old age. Journal of Gerontology : Psychological Sciences , 78, 1136-1141. (*equal contribution)

Margoni, F. , & Pili, G. (2023). Social dominance orientation predicts civil and military intelligence analysts' utilitarian responses to ethics-of-intelligence dilemmas. Current Psychology , 42, 10718-10728.

Margoni, F. (2022). Reliability and replicability in infant research: A commentary on Byers-Heinlein et al. (2021). Infant and Child Development , 31, e2330.

Margoni, F. , Nava, E., & Surian, L. (2022). Do children selectively trust leaders and prosocial agents in an economic exchange? Developmental Psychology , 58 , 152-160.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2022). Judging accidental harm: due care and foreseeability of side effects. Current Psychology , 41, 8774-8783.

- He, Y., Margoni, F. , Wu, Y., & Liu, H. (2021). fMRI evidence reveals emotional biases in bilingual decision making. Brain Structure and Function , 226 , 1405-1421.

Margoni, F. , Geipel, J., Hadjichristidis, C., & Surian, L. (2021). Inequity aversion in old age: an outcome bias in older adults' socio-economic decisions. Cognitive Development , 58, 101016.

- Liu, L., Margoni, F. , He, Y., & Liu, H. (2021). Neural substrates of the interplay between cognitive load and emotional involvement in bilingual decision making. Neuropsychologia, 151, 107721.

Margoni, F. , & Shepperd, M. (2020). Changing the logic of replication: A case from infant studies. Infant Behavior and Development, 61 , 101483.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2020). Question framing effects and the processing of the moral-conventional distinction. Philosophical Psychology , 34, 76-101.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2020). Conceptual continuity in the development of intent-based moral judgment. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 194 , 104812.

- Surian, L., & Margoni, F. (2020). First steps towards an understanding of procedural fairness. Developmental Science, 23, e12939.

- Surian, L., & Margoni, F. (2020). Commentary: Children's sense of fairness as equal respect. Frontiers in Psychology , 11 , 107.

Margoni, F. (2020). The distinction between morality and convention in older adults. Cognitive Development, 53, 100840.

Margoni, F. , Guglielmetti, G., & Surian, L. (2019). Young children with autism can generate intent-based moral judgments. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders , 49, 5078-5085.

Margoni, F. , Geipel, J., Hadjichristidis, C., & Surian, L. (2019). The influence of agents' negligence in shaping younger and older adults' moral judgment. Cognitive Development, 49, 116-126.

Margoni, F. , Baillargeon, R., & Surian, L. (2018). Infants distinguish between leaders and bullies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, E8835-E8843.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2018). Infants' evaluation of prosocial and antisocial agents: A meta-analysis. Developmental Psychology, 54, 1445-1455.

Margoni, F .*, Geipel, J.*, Hadjichristidis, C., & Surian, L. (2018). Moral judgment in old age: Evidence for an intent-to-outcome shift. Experimental Psychology, 65, 105-114 . (*equal contribution)

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2017). Children's intention-based moral judgments of helping agents. Cognitive Development, 41, 46-64.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2017). The emergence of sensitivity to biocentric intentions in preschool children. Journal of Environmental Psychology , 52, 37-42.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2016). Explaining the U-shaped development of intent-based moral judgments. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 219.

Margoni, F. , & Surian, L. (2016). Mental state understanding in the moral judgment of children with autistic spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1478.