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Photo of Stahl, Tomas

Tomas Stahl, PhD

Assistant Professor

Social & Personality


Building & Room:

1054B BSB


1007 W Harrison Street

Office Phone:

(312) 413-9407

Related Sites:


My early work focused on when and why people accept authorities’ decisions based on the fairness of decision-making procedures, as opposed to the favorability of the treatment received. Since then my work has broadened to cover various other aspects of moral psychology. For example, I currently study individual differences in moralized rationality; the inclination to view reliance on reason and evidence when forming and evaluating beliefs as a moral virtue, and reliance on less rational processes as a vice. I am interested in the intrapersonal as well as interpersonal consequences of moralizing rationality. On the intrapersonal level, I examine how moralized rationality relates to motivated reasoning, conspiracy beliefs, and central (vs. peripheral) routes to attitude change. Interpersonally, I study how moralized rationality affects reactions towards people who act based on irrational beliefs. Beyond moralized rationality, I am also interested in the consequences of moral (vs. amoral) goal pursuit. For example, I investigate how pursuit of a moral (vs. amoral) goal affects cognitive control and motivation.

Another area of interest is self-regulation. My work in this area has focused on how different self-regulatory states interact with situational factors to affect cognitive control, selective attention, and motivation.

Selected Publications

Ståhl, T, & Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2018). Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational. Personality and Individual Differences, 122, 155-163.

Ståhl T., Zaal M. P., Skitka L. J. (2016). Moralized Rationality: Relying on Logic and Evidence in the Formation and Evaluation of Belief Can Be Seen as a Moral Issue. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166332.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166332.

Ståhl, T., & Ellemers, N. (2016). Ironic effects of moral motivation: Why working toward a moral goal reduces subsequent perspective taking. Social Cognition34, 133-148.

Zaal, M. P., Van Laar, C., Ståhl, T., Ellemers, N., & Derks, B. (2015). “Self-promotion”: How regulatory focus affects the pursuit of self-interest at the expense of the group. European Journal of Social Psychology45, 587-598.

Van Prooijen, J-W., Ståhl, T., Eek, D., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2012). Injustice for all or just for me? Social value orientation predicts responses to own versus other’s procedures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1247-1258.

Ståhl, T., Van Laar, C., Ellemers, N., & Derks, B. (2012). Searching for acceptance: Prejudice expectations direct attention towards social acceptance cues when under a promotion focus. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15, 523-538.

Ståhl, T., Van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N. (2012). The role of prevention focus under stereotype threat: Initial cognitive mobilization is followed by depletion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 1239-1251.

Zaal, M. P., Van Laar, C., Ståhl, T., Ellemers, N., & Derks, B. (2012). Social change as an important goal or likely outcome: How regulatory focus affects commitment to collective action. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 93-110.

Zaal, M. P., Van Laar, C., Ståhl, T., Ellemers, N.,. Derks, B. (2011). By any means necessary: The effects of regulatory focus and moral conviction on hostile and benevolent forms of collective action. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50, 670-689.

Ståhl, T., Eek, D., & Kazemi, A. (2010). Rape victim blaming as system justification: The role of gender and activation of complementary stereotypes. Social Justice Research, 23, 239-258.

Ståhl, T., Vermunt, R., & Ellemers, N. (2008). For love or money? How activation of relational versus instrumental concerns affects reactions to decision-making procedures. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 80-94.

Ståhl, T., Vermunt, R., & Ellemers, N. (2008). Reactions to outgroup authorities’ decisions: The role of expected bias, procedural fairness and outcome favorability. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 11, 281-299.

Van Prooijen, J.-W., De Cremer, D., Van Beest, I., Ståhl, T., & Van Lange, P.A. M. (2008). The egocentric nature of procedural justice: Social value orientation as moderator of reactions to decision-making procedures. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1303-1315.

Ståhl, T., Vermunt, R., & Ellemers, N. (2006). Friend or foe? Ingroup identification moderates reactions to outgroup members’ allocation behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 877-885.

Ståhl, T., Van Prooijen, J-W., & Vermunt, R. (2004). On the psychology of procedural justice: Reactions to procedures of ingroup vs. outgroup authorities. European Journal of Social Psychology, 34, 173-189.