Our project explores a topic that is both central to Sir John Templeton’s writing and a far-reaching social challenge: how to extend the circle of agape love — the compassion that is shared across all people, no matter their race or creed. Although many of us aspire to agape love, this virtue is often frustrated by other aspects of human psychology, most prominently our difficulty extending kindness and compassion to those who seem different from us. In the proposed project, we aim to illuminate the processes that can limit agape love. Specifically, we will use experimental methodologies from developmental psychology to investigate the psychological mechanisms that create the perception of social difference and similarities, the very mechanisms that can both promote and inhibit agape love. We will focus on the origins of these mechanisms (i.e. how representations of those we perceive as similar and those we perceive as different emerge over human development) by empirically investigating how infants and children divide the world into “us” and “them.” With our newfound insights into these processes, we will develop simple interventions with the goal of extending agape love across different groups. Our accomplished team of scholars will therefore contribute to efforts to overcoming the psychological barriers that all-too-frequently disrupt the full flourishing of human compassion. Our project will produce cutting-edge empirical findings in developmental psychology, shedding new light on important questions on the origins of agape love in young infants and children. Our project will also include broader dissemination of our findings through public workshops and popular media appearances. Our overarching goal, then, is to provide new empirical insights into how we can broaden the moral circle early in development and promote the flourishing of agape love.