Colin Wayne Leach headshot


On January 18, 2024, Colin Wayne Leach, professor of psychology and Africana studies, published a new paper, “Moral Improvement of Self, Social Relations, and Society,” in the Annual Review of Psychology.

The paper considers the factors that enable people to focus on and be motivated to improve themselves, their social relations, and their society. Through a comprehensive review of the psychological and social science literature, Leach and his colleague Aarti Iyer strive to determine why people want to become more moral, even if this raises the potentially uncomfortable prospect that they are less moral than they could be—or should be—at present. Leach and Iyer discuss moral improvement in the context of social relations, especially close interpersonal relations, and examine the moral improvement of society, focusing on factors such as inequality, discrimination, and the climate crisis. Looking to the future, they also predict possible trajectories for self-improvement theory, research, and application.