Welcome to the online home of the Hot Cognition Lab at the University of California, Irvine.


Peter Ditto


Dr. Peter H. Ditto
Department of Psychology & Social Behavior
School of Social Ecology
University of California, Irvine
phditto [at] uci.edu
Curriculum Vitae



The judgments that make up the most pivotal points in our lives are seldom made dispassionately. We call our group the Hot Cognition Laboratory (HCL) because of our interest in understanding the passionate side of human judgment.

We are interested in how people make judgments in emotionally-charged and motivationally-involving situations, and particularly in how emotion and motivation can shape (and often bias) our reasoning processes and, ultimately, our beliefs about ourselves and the world.

Our research program has a dual focus. First, we strive to develop, using state-of-the-art empirical methods, a richer theoretical understanding of the role of emotion and motivation in judgment and decision making processes. Second, we hope to conduct psychological studies that inform contemporary social problems. Because judgments of consequence invariably involve feeling, a full understanding of how people think about politics, medicine, morality and the law will only come when we appreciate that in decisions that affect our lives most profoundly, passion and reason are inextricably intertwined.


Interested in Joining the HCL?


  • Submit an application to be a Research Assistant in Dr. Ditto’s Hot Cognition Lab.

Graduate Students:

  • Interested in coming to UC Irvine for graduate school? Read about our graduate program in the Department of Psychology & Social Behavior.
  • If you are interested in working with Dr. Ditto in graduate school, browse the Current Research page, read some of Dr. Ditto’s published papers, and then email Dr. Ditto at phditto [at] uci.edu. We are always interested in smart and motivated new lab members.


  • If you are a researcher wishing to collaborate on or discuss a project or area of interest with Dr. Ditto, please email him at phditto [at] uci.edu

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