How (and where) does moral judgment work?

Trends Cogn Sci. 2002 Dec 1;6(12):517-523. doi: 10.1016/s1364-6613(02)02011-9.


Moral psychology has long focused on reasoning, but recent evidence suggests that moral judgment is more a matter of emotion and affective intuition than deliberate reasoning. Here we discuss recent findings in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, including several studies that specifically investigate moral judgment. These findings indicate the importance of affect, although they allow that reasoning can play a restricted but significant role in moral judgment. They also point towards a preliminary account of the functional neuroanatomy of moral judgment, according to which many brain areas make important contributions to moral judgment although none is devoted specifically to it.