Elliot Turiel teaches courses on human development and its relation to education. He holds the Jerome A. Hutto Chair in the Graduate School of Education, and is an affiliated professor in the Department of Psychology. He is currently Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate School of Education. He has served as president of the Jean Piaget Society and is currently on its Board of Directors. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow.
His research focuses on social and moral development. He has formulated a theory of domains of social development involving the development of moral judgments (based on concepts of welfare, justice, and rights) and their distinction, throughout development, from understandings of the conventions and customs of societies - as well as from arenas of personal jurisdiction. He has applied the theoretical approach to the study of the relations of morality and culture. His research shows that cultures are not homogeneous and that different groups on in social hierarchies disagree on how to apply considerations of justice and equality. His research investigates social opposition and moral resistance to cultural practices perceived as unjust. He studies ways children, adolescents, and adults attempt to counter inequalities (such as those based on gender) with overt and covert activities aimed at changing and subverting practices that favor those in positions of power in the social hierarchy. Current research also is examining the development of judgments about social equality and inequality.
His books include The Culture of Morality: Social Development, Context, and Conflict (2002, Cambridge University Press), and Social Development, Social, Inequalities, and Social Justice (edited with C. Wainryb and J. Smetana, 2007, Erlbaum Publishers). His many other publications include "The Development of Morality" in Handbook of Child Psychology (2006); "Thought, Emotions, and Social Interactional Processes in Moral Development" in Handbook of Moral Development (2006); "Morality: Epistemology, development, and social opposition" in Handbook of Moral Development, 2nd edition (2014); "Moral development" in Handbook of child psychology and Developmental Science, Theory & method, 7th edition; "Snap judgment? Not so fast: Thought, reasoning, and choice as psychological realities" in Human Development (2010); "To Lie or not to Lie: To Whom and Under what Circumstances" in Child Development (with S. Perkins, 2007).