Dawn Schrader

Dawn Schrader

Associate Professor

466 Mann Library Building
(607) 255-9258

Dawn Schrader is interested in the role of new media and technology in judgment, psycho-social development and action. She examines dynamics between cognition, metacognition, epistemology, sociality, and the moral self. Research focuses on privacy awareness and valuing, and on social aggression.

Research Focus

My research combines a social contextual constructivist view of knowledge and a social-cognitive psychology of human development within the domains of moral, self and intellectual development. I believe these domains are interconnected, and developed a model that I refer to as the Action-Judgment-Awareness model. The model consists of three dynamically related components: Action--the real life choices and experiences of persons; Judgment--the cognitive perspective or framework that people currently have and use, which includes personal epistemology, self development, and moral psychology; and Awareness--the metacognitive awareness of thoughts, strategies, experiences, and tasks. My primary research interest is the exploration of cognitive moral psychology, its structure and development, and the actions and decisions made in real life settings, including personal, interpersonal and professional decisions in the moral domain. I take a lifespan developmental approach to understanding social and psychological influences on cognition and action, with a particular emphasis on early adolescence through adulthood, with the ultimate goals of creating better, more comprehensive, explanatory, and inclusive theories, and understanding how individual lives and communities are improved through thoughtful action.
Current Research:
I focus on issues of relational and social aggression amongst adolescent girls in schools, and also how contexts such as families and schools are involved in the relational aggression dynamics of their daughters’ experience. Using a cognitive, moral psychological theory perspective, I examine girls' perceptions of relational aggression as a moral issue, and explore the role of self, emotions, and social-cognitive reasoning and decision making in these situations. My current funded project is a cross-sectional, longitudinal study of girls aged 10-18 in public schools. I specifically examine the idea of how girls and women develop and maintain a sense of self-system integrity in situations of personal and interpersonal violence.

Future Research:
My work will continue to examine the moral, cognitive, interpersonal, and self development of adolescents and adults. My future work continues building on my current and past work:
1. Relational Aggression. I plan to further explore interpersonal and intrapersonal violence in girls and women. I am particularly interested in the influence of social context on social and relational aggression, and part of the context is technological developments. I will look at how girls and women use technology such as social networks to make and maintain relationships, as well as to sabotage each other. I will look at the effect of social networks on moral and self development, with an angle of looking at privacy issues, and moral responsibility, moral integrity and moral leadership.

2. Theory of Change and Transitions. I have been instrumental in research in moral psychology for two decades. Throughout I have studied transformation of thought processes, which has been not well explained in the moral domain. I have begun to develop a model to explain moral and self transformation in new ways. This model and theoretical explanations come from across disciplines, such as research in brain development, other biological explanations or models, and the fields of anthropology, women’s studies, philosophy, etc. I am working on a new model to help explain cognitive moral transformation that has implications for moral education and personal moral development. Further, my work seeks to transform the field of moral psychology: how we look at issues and problems of morality, and how to translate that to education. In the Spring of 2008 I hosted a symposium that gathered experts from throughout the world to help think through these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective and begin to set a new agenda for research in cognitive moral psychology.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Adolescent girls' relational aggression permeates school culture and creates negative learning environments and social interactions, and inhibits self development. I am available to work with teachers, parents, and administrators to demystify the roles and effects of relational aggression, and offer ways to address these problems with girls.

Teaching Focus

My philosophy of teaching is grounded in the theoretical perspectives that permeate my research program: moral, intellectual, epistemological, social, and self development in context. These mutually intersecting areas form a dynamic interaction that creates opportunities and possibilities for positive growth and development. I believe that students have a natural tendency to want to learn—to make sense of what is around them. Students construct meaning from their interactions with their environment and with others—both peers and expert authorities. This meaning is influenced by several things: past experience, reflection on experience, reflection on what they know and do not know, and how they think about the nature of knowledge—including their own role in making and interpreting it, and biological factors such temperament, learning abilities, and learning challenges or disabilities. I believe learning and teaching is best done in an atmosphere of support and care, where people treat one another with fairness, consideration, and respect, and where all are conscious of the social and moral climate of their classroom. The result is personal and intellectual growth and the stimulation of a love of, and appreciation for, their role in the lifelong pursuit of self-directed, self-transformational learning. Students need, and want, to be understood and appreciated as individuals, known in their diversity of life experience and history, and appreciated for how their own personhood evidences itself in their daily interactions with others and will evidence itself in their later professional conduct.
It is my goal in teaching to understand the meaning-making structure of my students, to understand what they know and do not know, to help them draw from their experience in real life contexts to see parallels and analogies and instantiations of the psychology and education theories that I teach, and to do so in a moral climate of respect, care, challenge, and support.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Cognitive Moral Development. Moral Education: A Handbook Power, F. C., Nuzzi, R. J., Narvaez, D., Lapsley, D, & Hunt. T. C. (ed.), Praeger, New London, CT, USA.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Moral Development. Moral Education: A Handbook Power, F. C., Nuzzi, R. J., Narvaez, D., Lapsley, D, & Hunt. T. C. (ed.), Praeger, New London, CT, USA.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Moral Judgment. Moral Education: A Handbook Praeger, New London, CT, USA.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2008). Teaching Moral Leadership: Becoming Moral Leaders and Being Moral Leadership. p. 227-248 Getting involved: Global citizenship development and sources of moral values Oser, F. & Veugelers, W (ed.), Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2006). Metacognitive reflection in university students. Human Development across the life span: Educational and psychological applications (2nd Edition) Mosher, R., Youngman, D. & Day, J. (ed.), Information Age Publishing LLC, Westport, CT.
  • Schrader, D. E. (2003). Moral metacognition in adolescence and adulthood. p. 301-327 Handbook of Adult Development Demick, J. & Andreoletti, C (ed.), Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Books

  • Schrader, D. E. (2013). Educating Competencies for Democracy. Nowak, E., Schrader, D.E., and Zizek, B. (ed.), Peter Lang Publishing, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien.

Presentations and Activities

  • Incorporating Zero-Knowledge Proofs in Privacy-Aware Systems. NSF SaTC PI Meeting 2015. January 2015. National Science Foundation. Arlington, VA.
  • Being in and helping out: Inclusion, Exclusion and Bystanding Behavior in Adolescent Girls. Annual Meeting of the Association for Moral Education. November 2014. Association for Moral Education. Pasadena, CA. .
  • Adolescents’ Views on Psychological aggression in dating relationships. Society for Research on Adolescence . March 2014. Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting. Austin, TX.
  • Adolescent girls’ considerations when deciding whether or not to upstand. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Balancing moral challenges and opportunities under surveillance: Liberty, autonomy and civic responsibility. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Cliques and popularity influences on upstanding and bystanding behavior. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Workshop in students’ emersion in moral/civic education and development research. 39th Annual Conference of The Association for Moral Education. October 2013. Association for Moral Education. Montreal, Canada.
  • Risky Business: A Study on User Awareness and Valuation of Cellular Privacy Risks. ACM Mobile HCI. August 2013. ACM Mobile HCI. Munich, Germany.
  • Risky Business: A Study on User Awareness and Valuation of Cellular Privacy Risks. ACM Mobile HCI. August 2013. ACM Mobile HCI. Munich, Germany.
  • Development of a measure of severe psychological aggression for adolescent dating relationships. American Psychological Association Conference. July 2013. American Psychological Association. Honolulu, Hawaii.