Arathy Puthillam

Arathy Puthillam

Senior Research Assistant

Monk Prayogshala, India


Arathy Puthillam is at the Department of Psychology at Monk Prayogshala, a not-for-profit research organization based in Mumbai in India. Her research interests lie at the intersection of social, moral, and political psychology. Particularly, she studies norms, ideology, and identity. In other words, she studies how our social groups affect us.

Her non-academic interests include reading books and making spreadsheets about them, and talking about musical theatre, Taylor Swift, and Ben Platt.

Download my resumé or my curriculum vitae.

  • Social Psychology
  • Moral Psychology
  • Political Psychology
  • MA in Applied Psychology, 2017

    University of Mumbai

  • BA, with a Major in Psychology, 2015

    St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Mumbai


Senior Research Assistant
Monk Prayogshala
Jul 2017 – Present Mumbai, India

Responsibilities include:

  • Academic research
  • Research communication
  • Supervision and Mentoring
  • Project management
Contractual editor
CACTUS Communication
Jan 2018 – Dec 2020 Mumbai, India
Scientific manuscript editing for ESL authors in the fields of healthcare, psychology, public administration, applied economics, and political science.



I have over 5 years of experience using R


I have over 2 years of experience using Zotero

Open Science

Openness and transparency in science is important to me

Research Output

A summary

So far, my research work has revolved around identity and person perception. This includes how our personality, ideology, and beliefs affect the way we assess other people. This has led to a few papers in peer-reviewed journals, a few conference presentations, as well as some working papers.

You can view a list here here or in my curriculum vitae.

Some of my other research interests include identity-based rumours, gossip, and misinformation (e.g., do we spread more rumours about out outgroup’s transgressions?), what causes us to change our norms (e.g., does moving from one country to another change our moral beliefs?), and how we view others who are horizontally (e.g., other sports teams) or vertically (e.g., other socioeconomic classes) different than us.

Another very niche interest for me is how we measure things. As someone who studies a very non-US centric population, some of the tools (scales or tasks) have very poor validity cross-culturally. This could be because they have not been tested across cultures, but also sometimes because the creators/authors don’t understand the contexts (e.g., law, language) that are not theirs. I think we should be collaborating with researchers from different contexts to understand such nuances.

Popular Press

A summary

Over the years, I have also attempted to communicate our research and ideas via popular magazines and newspaper articles.

You can view a list here or some selected ones in my CV.

I have often written about the intersection of pop culture and some of my academic interests. For example, have you ever wondered about how gossip works in the Bigg Boss house? I covered our working paper about it here in FirstPost.

I know I shouldn’t pick favourites, but here is a fun snippet of some of the pieces I had a blast working towards:

How do memes work?
Here are my thoughts about them.
What does Parks and Recreation teach us about the philosophy of friendship?
You can read about it here.
What do you think about extravagant celebrity weddings?
My (and my colleague's) thoughts in this BuzzFeed video.
Like everyone else, I used to really like Ariana Grande's Thank U Next when it came out
So wrote about what the song teaches us about self-love here
Anyone who knows me in real life knows how much I talk about death and Hamilton
So wrote a piece about death and Hamilton here . Can I just say "like a beat without a melody" is such a beautiful way to describe it?
Impostor Phenomenon doesn't really go away, right?
Turned my Master's project into a piece for Mint on Sunday.
Like I said, I love reading and binge-watching shows
So, wrote a piece about why we might be drawn to imaginary worlds for The Swaddle. Read that here

Press Coverage

Some of my work has also received some press coverage. Here is a list:

  1. Memes are to make you laugh; what if they spread disinformation?

    Spoke to a reporter at The Quint about memes and misinformation. Watch video here

  2. Indian Women in Science Struggled Even Before the Pandemic. Now, Things Are Much Worse

    Quoted in an article in HuffPo. Read here

  3. Beware the Dark Trio!

    Our paper covered in an article in the newspaper Alittihad. Read here

  4. The Life of Science Webinar on COVID19 straining gender dynamics among Indian scientists

    Panelist on a webinar by The Life of Science, covered in The Wire’s YouTube Channel. Watch here

  5. How I pursued psychology with an undying passion in Editage Insights

    Profiled in an article on Editage. Read here

  6. Down the rabbit hole of donation shaming

    Spoke about social media and donations to a reporter over at The Ken. Read here

  7. Using data-driven psychological research to find out more about Indians

    Profiled in an article in The Wire. Read here. Also on The Life of Science. Read here