Dr Anneli Jefferson

Dr Anneli Jefferson

Department of Philosophy
Postdoctoral Researcher

Contact details

I am a philosopher of psychology, with special interests in the intersection between philosophy of psychology and moral philosophy.


  • Magister Artium Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf (Germany). 
  • MPhil King’s College London
  • PhD King’s College London
  • I also hold a qualification as a secondary school teacher for English and Philosophy.


Before coming to Birmingham I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the institute of Neuroscience and Medicine at the Research Centre Jülich, Germany. 


  • The Ethics of Killing


I am currently working on a project entitled ‘Costs and Benefits of Optimism’ with Lisa Bortolotti. This project is part of the Hope and Optimism Funding initiative supported by the Templeton Foundation. We are investigating the nature, causes and effects of unrealistic optimism. From May 2016 I will be starting on a three year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Birmingham. My project is called ‘Mental Disorders, Brain Disorders and Moral Responsibility’. I will be looking at the relationship between mental disorders and brain disorders and investigate how these disorders affect capacities necessary for moral responsibility. Other topics I am interested in are theories of content, concepts of dysfunction and disorder in the life sciences, ethics and moral psychology. 


  • Kuzmanovic, B., Jefferson, A., and Vogeley, K. 2015: Self-Specific Optimism Bias is Associated with high Trait Optimism. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making  28: 3,  281–293
  • Godman, M. and Jefferson, A. 2014: On Blaming and Punishing Psychopaths. Journal of Criminal Law and Philosophy, Online first Oct.2014
  • Jefferson, Anneli 2014: Slippery Slope Arguments. Philosophy Compass. 9:10, 672-680
  • Jefferson, Anneli 2014: Mental Disorders, Brain Disorders and Values. Frontiers in Psychology 5:130