Abigail Marsh asks essential questions: If humans are evil, why do we sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to help others even at a cost to ourselves?

Why you should listen

How do we understand what others think and feel? An associate professor in the department of psychology and the interdisciplinary neuroscience program at Georgetown University, Abigail Marsh focuses on social and affective neuroscience. She addresses questions using multiple approaches that include functional and structural brain imaging in adolescents and adults from both typical and non-typical populations, as well as behavioral, cognitive, genetic and pharmacological techniques. Among her ongoing research projects are brain imaging and behavioral studies of altruistic kidney donors and brain imaging studies of children/adolescents with severe conduct problems and limited empathy.

Marsh's 2017 book The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In-Between explores the extremes of human generosity and cruelty. In 2018, The Fear Factor was awarded the Book Prize for The Promotion of Social and Personality Science from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Abigail Marsh’s TED talk