Ph.D., University of Minnesota




Dr. Narvaez’ research explores questions of moral cognition and moral development over the lifespan in multiple contexts (e.g., family, school). She examines how early life experience influences moral functioning and moral character in children and adults. She integrates neurobiological, clinical, developmental and education sciences in her theories and research about moral development. Questions that interest her include: How does early experience shape moral capacities? What types of moral orientations can people have? How do moral dispositions develop? What is moral wisdom and how do we cultivate it? How can educators and parents foster optimal development, wellbeing and communal imagination? She has developed several integrative theories: Adaptive Ethical Expertise, Integrative Ethical Education, Triune Ethics Theory. You can download papers at her website (link below). She writes a blog for Psychology Today (link below).

Selected publications:

Narvaez, D. (2014). Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Narvaez, D., Valentino, K., Fuentes, A., McKenna, J., & Gray, P. (2014). Ancestral Landscapes in Human Evolution: Culture, Childrearing and Social Wellbeing. New York: Oxford University Press.
Nucci, L., Narvaez, D., & Krettenauer, T. (2014). Handbook of Moral and Character Education (2nd Ed.). New York: Routledge.
Narvaez, D. & Mrkva, K. (2014). Creative moral imagination. In S. Moran, D. H. Cropley & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.), The Ethics of Creativity (pp. 25-45). New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
Narvaez, D., Gleason, T., Wang, L., Brooks, J., Lefever, J., Cheng, A., & Centers for the Prevention of Child Neglect (2013). The Evolved Development Niche: Longitudinal Effects of Caregiving Practices on Early Childhood Psychosocial Development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28 (4), 759–773. Doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.07.003
Narvaez, D., Wang, L., Gleason, T., Cheng, A., Lefever, J., & Deng, L. (2013). The Evolved Developmental Niche and sociomoral outcomes in Chinese three-year-olds. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10(2), 106-127.
Narvaez, D., Panksepp, J., Schore, A., & Gleason, T. (Eds.) (2013). Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Narvaez, D. (2013). The 99 Percent—Development and socialization within an evolutionary context: Growing up to become “A good and useful human being.” In D. Fry (Ed.), War, Peace and Human Nature: The convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views (pp. 643-672). New York: Oxford University Press. 
Lapsley, D., Holter, A., & Narvaez, D. (2013). Teaching for Character: Three Strategies for Teacher Education. In M. Sanger & R. Osgulthorpe (Eds.), The Moral Work of Teaching: Preparing and Supporting Practitioners. New York: Teachers College Press.
Narvaez, D. (2013). Wisdom as mature moral functioning: Insights from developmental psychology and neurobiology. In M. Jones, P. Lewis, & K. Reffitt (Eds.), Character, Practical Wisdom and Professional Formation across the Disciplines. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.
Narvaez, D. (2013). Neurobiology and moral mindsets. In K. Heinrichs, F. Oser & T. Lovat (Eds.), Handbook of moral motivation: Theories, models, applications (pp. 289-307). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Narvaez, D., & Gleason, T. (2013). Developmental optimization. In D. Narvaez, J., Panksepp, A. Schore, & T. Gleason (Eds.), Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy (pp. 307-325). New York: Oxford University Press.
Narvaez, D. (2012). Moral neuroeducation from early life through the lifespan. Neuroethics, 5(2), 145-157. doi:10.1007/s12152-011-9117-5
Narvaez, D. (2012). Moral rationality. Tradition and Discovery, XXXVIII (2), 25-33. 
Junkins, T., & Narvaez, D. (2012). An educational model for teaching a nonkilling ethic. In. D.J. Christie & J. Pim (Eds.), Nonkilling Psychology (pp. 295-319). Honolulu: Center for Global Non-Killing. Available online:
Narvaez, D. (2011). Neurobiology, moral education and moral self-authorship. In. D. de Ruyter & S. Miedema (Eds.), Moral education and development: A lifetime commitment (pp. 31-44). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Narvaez, D. (2011). The ethics of neurobiological narratives. Poetics Today, 32(1): 81-106.
Junkins, T., & Narvaez, D. (2011). Habitat for Humanity and the support of civic participation. In Factis Pax. 5(1), 66-79.
Narvaez, D., Radvansky, G.A., Lynchard, N., & Copeland, D. (2011). Are older adults more attuned to morally-charged information? Experimental Aging Research, 37, 1–37.
Narvaez, D. (2010). Building a sustaining classroom climate for purposeful ethical citizenship. In T. Lovat and R. Toomey (Eds.), International Research Handbook of Values Education and Student Wellbeing (pp. 659-674) New York: Springer Publishing Co.
Narvaez, D. (2010). Moral complexity: The fatal attraction of truthiness and the importance of mature moral functioning. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(2), 163-181.
Narvaez, D. (2010). The emotional foundations of high moral intelligence. In B. Latzko & T. Malti (Eds.). Children’s Moral Emotions and Moral Cognition: Developmental and Educational Perspectives, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 129, 77-94. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Narvaez, D., Gleason, T., & Mitchell, C. (2010). Moral virtue and practical wisdom: Theme comprehension in children, youth and adults. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 171(4), 1-26.
Narvaez, D., & Lapsley, D.K. (2009). Moral identity and the development of moral character. In D. Medin, L. Skitka, D. Bartels, & C. Bauman (Eds.), Moral cognition and decision making, Vol. 50 of the Psychology of Learning and Motivation series (pp. 237-274). Elsevier.
Nucci, L. P., & Narvaez, D. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of Moral and Character Education. New York: Routledge.
Narvaez, D. (2009). Triune Ethics Theory and moral personality. In D. Narvaez & D.K. Lapsley (Eds.), Personality, Identity and Character: Explorations in Moral Psychology (pp. 136-158). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Narvaez, D., & Lapsley, D.K. (Eds.) (2009). Personality, Identity, and Character: Explorations in Moral Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Narvaez, D. (2008). Triune ethics: The neurobiological roots of our multiple moralities. New Ideas in Psychology, 26, 95-119.
Narvaez, D. & Lapsley, D. K. (2008). Teaching moral character: Two alternatives for teacher educators. Teacher Educator, 43(2), 156-172.
Narvaez, D., Mattan, B., MacMichael, C., & Squillace, M. (2008). Kill bandits, collect gold or save the dying: the effects of playing a prosocial video game. Media Psychology Review. 1 (1). Available 08/31/08 from option=com_content&view=article&id=35&Itemid=121
Narvaez, D. & Vaydich, J. (2008). Moral development and behaviour under the spotlight of the neurobiological sciences. Journal of Moral Education, 37(3), 289-313.
Narvaez, D. (2008). Human flourishing and moral development: Cognitive science and neurobiological perspectives on virtue development. In L. Nucci & D. Narvaez (Eds.), Handbook of Moral and Character Education (pp. 310-327). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Narvaez, D. (2007). How cognitive and neurobiological sciences inform values education for creatures like us. In D. Aspin & J. Chapman (Eds.), Values Education and Lifelong Learning: Philosophy, Policy, Practices (pp. 127-159). Springer Press International.
Narvaez, D., & Gleason, T. (2007). The Influence of moral judgment development and moral experience on comprehension of moral narratives and expository texts. The Journal of Genetic Psychology,168(3), 251–276.
Lapsley, D. K. & Narvaez, D. (2006). Character education. In Vol. 4 (A. Renninger & I. Siegel, volume Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology (W. Damon & R. Lerner, Series Eds.) (pp. 248-296). New York: Wiley.
Narvaez, D. (2006). Integrative Ethical Education. In M. Killen & J. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of Moral Development (pp. 703-733). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Narvaez, D., Lapsley, D. K., Hagele, S., & Lasky, B. (2006). Moral chronicity and social information processing: Tests of a social cognitive approach to the moral personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 966–985.
Narvaez, D. (2005). The Neo-Kohlbergian tradition and beyond: schemas, expertise and character. In G. Carlo & C. Pope-Edwards (Eds.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Vol. 51: Moral Motivation through the Lifespan (pp. 119-163). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Narvaez, D., & Lapsley, D.K. (2005). The psychological foundations of everyday morality and moral expertise. In D.K. Lapsley & Power, C. (Eds.), Character Psychology and Character Education (pp. 140-165). Notre Dame: IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
Lapsley, D.K., & Narvaez, D. (2005). Moral psychology at the crossroads. In D.K.Lapsley & Power, C. (Eds.), Character Psychology and Character Education (pp. 18-35). University of Notre Dame Press.
Translated and published in Postconvencionales, 1, enero 2010, 98-115.
Lapsley, D.K., & Narvaez, D. (Eds.) (2004). Moral development, self and identity: Essays in honor of Augusto Blasi. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Rest, J. R., Narvaez, D., Bebeau, M., & Thoma, S. (1999). Postconventional moral thinking: A neo-Kohlbergian approach. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Rest, J.R. & Narvaez, D. (Eds.) (1994). Moral development in the professions: Psychology and applied ethics. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


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