Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 7 (1), 1-10

Where in the Brain Is Morality? Everywhere and Maybe Nowhere

Affiliations
Review

Where in the Brain Is Morality? Everywhere and Maybe Nowhere

Liane Young et al. Soc Neurosci.

Abstract

The neuroscience of morality has focused on how morality works and where it is in the brain. In tackling these questions, researchers have taken both domain-specific and domain-general approaches-searching for neural substrates and systems dedicated to moral cognition versus characterizing the contributions of domain-general processes. Where in the brain is morality? On one hand, morality is made up of complex cognitive processes, deployed across many domains and housed all over the brain. On the other hand, no neural substrate or system that uniquely supports moral cognition has been found. In this review, we will discuss early assumptions of domain-specificity in moral neuroscience as well as subsequent investigations of domain-general contributions, taking emotion and social cognition (i.e., theory of mind) as case studies. Finally, we will consider possible cognitive accounts of a domain-specific morality: Does uniquely moral cognition exist?

Similar articles

  • The Neural Basis of Moral Cognition: Sentiments, Concepts, and Values
    J Moll et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1124, 161-80. PMID 18400930. - Review
    The human moral nature has perplexed laymen and academics for millennia. Recent developments in cognitive neuroscience are opening new venues for unveiling the complex ps …
  • The Functional Brain Architecture of Human Morality
    CM Funk et al. Curr Opin Neurobiol 19 (6), 678-81. PMID 19889532. - Review
    Human morality provides the foundation for many of the pillars of society, informing political legislation and guiding legal decisions while also governing everyday socia …
  • Functional and Clinical Neuroanatomy of Morality
    M Fumagalli et al. Brain 135 (Pt 7), 2006-21. PMID 22334584. - Review
    Morality is among the most sophisticated features of human judgement, behaviour and, ultimately, mind. An individual who behaves immorally may violate ethical rules and c …
  • Neural Correlates of Human Virtue Judgment
    H Takahashi et al. Cereb Cortex 18 (8), 1886-91. PMID 18203696.
    Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the brain regions implicated in moral cognition. However, those studies have focused exclusively on violation of social norms …
  • The Self as a Moral Agent: Linking the Neural Bases of Social Agency and Moral Sensitivity
    J Moll et al. Soc Neurosci 2 (3-4), 336-52. PMID 18633822.
    The human brain is inherently able to understand the world in moral ways, endowing most of us with an intuitive sense of fairness, concern for others, and observance of c …
See all similar articles

Cited by 39 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback