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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  

Jay J Van Bavel

New York University (NYU) - Department of Psychology

Oriel FeldmanHall

New York University (NYU) - Department of Psychology

Peter Mende-Siedlecki

Princeton University - Department of Psychology

Date Written: August 13, 2015

Abstract

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

Van Bavel, Jay J and FeldmanHall, Oriel and Mende-Siedlecki, Peter, The Neuroscience of Moral Cognition: From Dual Processes to Dynamic Systems (August 13, 2015). 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.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643646

Jay J Van Bavel (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Psychology ( email )

New York, NY 10003
United States

Oriel FeldmanHall

New York University (NYU) - Department of Psychology ( email )

New York, NY 10003
United States

Peter Mende-Siedlecki

Princeton University - Department of Psychology

Green Hall
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

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