The Neuroscience of Moral Cognition: From Dual Processes to Dynamic Systems
Van Bavel, J. J., FeldmanHall, O., & Mende-Siedlecki, P. (in press). The neuroscience of moral cognition: From dual processes to dynamic systems. Current Opinion in Psychology, Forthcoming.
26 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 13, 2015
Prominent theories of morality have integrated philosophy with psychology and biology. Although this approach has been highly generative, we argue that it does not fully capture the rich and dynamic nature of moral cognition. We review research from the dual-process tradition, in which moral intuitions are automatically elicited and reasoning is subsequently deployed to correct these initial intuitions. We then describe how the computations underlying moral cognition are diverse and widely distributed throughout the brain. Finally, we illustrate how social context modulates these computations, recruiting different systems for real (vs. hypothetical) moral judgments, and examine the dynamic process by which moral judgments are updated. In sum, we advocate for a shift from dual-process to dynamic system models of moral cognition.
Keywords: morality, neuroscience, ethics, psychology
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation