William McAuliffe, PhD


William McAuliffe is a postdoctoral scholar at the Division on Addiction. He received his PhD in psychology from the University of Miami, where he studied the evolution of cooperation in humans and completed a concentration in quantitative psychology. William’s research investigates why people sometimes help others and harm themselves, given that they typically desire and know how to advance their own interests. He is also interested in how interindividual differences in prosocial and self-destructive behaviors unfold over the life course. Links to his publications can be found on his website.

William’s position is funded by a grant from GVC. His current projects ask questions about how to best detect and mitigate disordered gambling: Are existing tools for predicting gambling-related harm sufficiently sensitive? Are efficacy studies of Responsible Gambling initiatives– a set of tools for moderating time and money spent gambling– replicable? Do highly involved gamblers have unique temporal patterns of gambling behavior? William is attempting to answer these questions using player data from internet gambling websites operated by GVC such as bwin.

Current Projects

EPIC Risk Management & Athletes Initiative

The GVC-Division on Addiction Internet Gambling Research Collaborative

Selected Publications


McAuliffe, W. H. B.*, Carter, E. C.*, Berhane, J., Snihur, A. C., & McCullough, M. E. (2020). Is empathy the default response to suffering? A meta-analytic evaluation of perspective-taking instructions’ effects on empathic concern. Personality and Social Psychology Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868319887599

McAuliffe, W. H. B.*, Moshontz, H.*, McCauley, T. G., & McCullough, M. E. (2020). Searching for prosociality in qualitative data: Comparing manual, closed-vocabulary, and open-vocabulary methods. European Journal of Personality. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2240


McAuliffe, W. H. B., Forster, D. E., Pedersen, E. J., & McCullough, M. E. (2018). Experience with anonymous interactions reduces intuitive cooperation. Nature Human Behaviour, 12(2), 909-914.

* = equal contributions