Moral judgments, emotions and the utilitarian brain

Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Aug;11(8):319-21. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2007.06.001. Epub 2007 Jun 29.


The investigation of the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying the moral mind is of paramount importance for understanding complex human behaviors, from altruism to antisocial acts. A new study on patients with prefrontal damage provides key insights on the neurobiology of moral judgment and raises new questions on the mechanisms by which reason and emotion contribute to moral cognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Damage, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Ethical Theory*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Morals*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*