Studies

Reality about Human Morality: Substantiating Research

 Statement A

Morality is an evolved repertoire of cognitive and emotional mechanisms with distinct biological underpinnings, as modified by experience acquired throughout the human lifespan.

  • Cesarini, D., Dawes, C. T., Fowler, J. H., Johannesson, M., Lichtenstein, P., & Wallace, B. (2008). Heritability of cooperative behavior in the trust game. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 105, 3721-3726.
  • Cosmides, L. and Tooby, J. (2002). Knowing thyself: The evolutionary psychology of moral reasoning and moral sentiments.  Business, Science and Ethics, 91-127.
  • Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2005). Neurocognitive adaptations designed for social exchange. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), Evolutionary Psychology Handbook. NY: Wiley.
  • Cushman, F. A. & Greene, J. D. (2012). Finding faults: How moral dilemmas reveal cognitive structure. Social Neuroscience, 7(3), 269-279.
  • Cushman, F. A., Young, L., & Greene, J. (2010). Our multi-system moral psychology: Towards a consensus view. In J. Doris et al. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. Oxford University Press.
  • Decety, J., and Chaminade, T. (2003). Neural correlates of feeling sympathy. Neuropsychologia - Special Issue on Social Cognition, 41(2), 127-138.
  • DeQuervain, DJ-F., Fischbacher U., Treyer V., Schellhammer M., Schnyder U., Buck A., Fehr E. (2004.) The neural basis of altruistic punishment. Science, 305, 1254-1258.
  • DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2009). Mysteries of morality. Cognition, 112, 281-299.
  • DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2013). A solution to the mysteries of morality. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 477-496.
  • Fehr, E. and Rockenbach, B. (2004). Human altruism: economic, neural, and evolutionary perspectives. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 14, 784–790.
  • Heekeren, H. R., Wartenburger, I., Schmidt, H., Schwintowski, H. P. & Villringer, A. (2003). An fMRI study of simple ethical decision-making. Neuroreport, 14, 1215−1219.
  • Heiphetz, L., & Young, L. (2014). A social cognitive developmental perspective on moral judgment. Behaviour, 151(2-3).
  • Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Ditto, P. H. (2011). Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2), 366-385.
  • Greene, J. D., Nystrom, L. E., Engell, A. D., Darley, J. M. and Cohen, J. D. (2004). The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment. Neuron, 44, 389−400.
  • Greene, J.D., Sommerville, R.B., Nystrom, L.E., Darley, J.M. and Cohen, J.D. (2001). An fMRI investigation of emotional engagement in moral judgment. Science, 293, 2105-2108.
  • Kiehl, K. A. et al. (2001). Limbic abnormalities in affective processing by criminal psychopaths as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Biol. Psychiatry, 50, 677−684.
  • McCabe K., Houser D., Ryan L., Smith V., Trouard T. (2001.): A functional imaging study of cooperation in two-person reciprocal exchange. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 98, 11832-11835.
  • Moll, J., Eslinger, P. J. & Oliveira-Souza, R. (2001). Frontopolar and anterior temporal cortex activation in a moral judgment task: preliminary functional MRI results in normal subjects. Arq. Neuropsiquiatry, 59, 657−664.
  • Moll, J., de Oliveira-Souza, R., Bramati, I. E. & Grafman, J. (2002). Functional networks in emotional moral and nonmoral social judgments. Neuroimage, 16, 696−703.
  • Moll, J. et al. (2002). The neural correlates of moral sensitivity: a functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation of basic and moral emotions. J. Neurosci., 22, 2730−2736.
  • Muller, J. L. et al. (2003). Abnormalities in emotion processing within cortical and subcortical regions in criminal psychopaths: Evidence from a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using pictures with emotional content. Biol. Psychiatry, 54, 152−162.
  • Koenigs, M., Young, L., Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., Hauser, M., Cushman, F., Damasio A. (2007). Damage to the prefrontal cortex increases utilitarian moral judgments. Nature, 446, 908-911.
  • Kosfeld, M., Heinrichs, M., Zak, P. J., Fischbacher, U., & Fehr, E. (2005). Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature, 435, 673-676.
  • Pizarro, D.A., Inbar, Y., & Helion, C. (2011). On disgust and moral judgment. Emotion Review, 3, 267–268.
  • Pizarro, D.A., Tannenbaum, D., & Uhlmann, E.L. (2012). Mindless, harmless, and blameworthy. Psychological Inquiry, 23, 185-188
  • Raine, A., Lencz, T., Bihrle, S., LaCasse, L. & Colletti, P. (2000). Reduced prefrontal gray matter volume and reduced autonomic activity in antisocial personality disorder. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 57, 119−127; discussion 128−129.
  • Rilling, J.K., Gutman, D.A., Zeh, T.R., Pagnoni, G., Berns, G.S., & Kilts, C.D. (2002.) A neural basis for social cooperation. Neuron, 35, 395-405.
  • Singer, T., Kiebel, S.J., Winston, J.S., Kaube, H., Dolan, R.J., Frith, C.D. (2004). Brain responses to the acquired moral status of faces. Neuron, 41,653-662.
  • Stone, V., Cosmides, L., Tooby, J., Kroll, N. and Knight, R.T. (2002.) Selective impairment of reasoning about social exchange in a patient with bilateral limbic system damage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 99, 11531-11536.
  • Soderstrom, H. et al. (2002). Reduced frontotemporal perfusion in psychopathic personality. Psychiatry Res., 114, 81−94.
  • Takahashi, H. et al. (2004). Brain activation associated with evaluative processes of guilt and embarrassment: an fMRI study. Neuroimage, 23, 967−974.
  • Tomasello, M.  & Vaish, A. (2013). Origins of human cooperation and morality.  Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 231–55
  • Wallace, B., Cesarini, D., Lichtenstein, P., & Johannesson, M. (2007). Heritability of ultimatum game responder behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10(1073).
  • Young, L., Camprodon, J., Hauser, M., Pascual-Leone, A., Saxe, R. (2010). Disruption of the right temporoparietal junction with transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces the role of beliefs in moral judgments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 6753-6758.
  • Young, L., Bechara, A., Tranel, D., Damasio, H., Hauser, M., Damasio, A. (2010). Damage to ventromedial prefrontal cortex impairs judgment of harmful intent. Neuron, 65, 845-851.
  • Young, L., et al. (2006): Does emotion mediate the relationship between an action's moral status and its intentional status? Neuropsychological evidence. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 6, 291-304.
 Nota Bene
Prof. Peter Singer suggested adding at the end of sentence “…and by our capacity to reason and reflect on that experience.”

 Statement B

Morality is not the exclusive domain of Homo sapiens; there is significant cross-species evidence in the scientific literature that animals exhibit "pre-morality" or basic moral behaviors (i.e. those patterns of behavior that parallel central elements of human moral behavior).

  • Aureli, F., & de Waal, F. B. M. (Eds.). (2000). Natural conflict resolution. Berkeley: University of California Press. 
  • Axelrod, R., & Hamilton, W. (1981). The evolution of cooperation. Science, 211, 1390-1396. 
  • Brosnan, S. F., & de Waal, F. B. M. (2003). Monkeys reject equal pay. Nature, 425, 297–299
  • Chen, K. & Hauser, M.D. (2005). Modeling reciprocation and cooperation in primates: Evidence for a punishing strategy. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 235, 5-12.
  • Church, R. M. (1959). Emotional reactions of rats to the pain of others. Journal of comparative and physiological psychology52(2), 132.
  • Crespi, B. J. (2001). The evolution of social behaviour in microorganisms. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 16(4), 178-183. 
  • De Waal, F. B. (2008). Putting the altruism back into altruism: The evolution of empathy. Annual Review of Psychology59, 279-300.
  • De Waal, F. B., Leimgruber, K., & Greenberg, A. R. (2008). Giving is self-rewarding for monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,105(36), 13685-13689.
  • Hamilton, W. D. (1963). The evolution of altruistic behavior. The American Naturalist, 97, 354-356. 
  • Harcourt, A., & de Waal, F. B. M. (Eds.). (1992). Coalitions and alliances in humans and other animals. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Hauser, M.D., (1992). Costs of deception: Cheaters are punished in rhesus monkeys. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA, 89, 12137-12139.
  • Hauser M.D., Chen K., Frances C. and Chuang E. (2004). Give unto others: genetically unrelated cotton-tamarin monkeys preferentially give food to those who altruistically give food back. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B - Biological Science, 270, 2363-2370.
  • Maynard Smith, J., & Price, G. R. (1973). The logic of animal conflict. Nature, 246, 15-18. 
  • Melis, A. & Tomasello, M. (2013). Chimpanzees’ strategic helping in a collaborative task. Biology Letters, 9, 2013
  • Melis, A., Warneken, F., Jensen, K., Schneider, A.C., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2011). Chimpanzees help conspecifics obtain food and non-food items. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 278(1710), 1405-1413.
  • Pierce, J., & Bekoff, M. (2012). Wild justice redux: What we know about social justice in animals and why it matters. Social Justice Research, 25(2), 122-139.
  • Range, F., Leitner, K., & Virányi, Z. (2012). The influence of the relationship and motivation on inequity aversion in dogs. Social Justice Research, 25(2).
  • Sussman, R. W., Garber, P. A., & Cheverud, J. M. (2005). Importance of cooperation and affiliation in the evolution of primate sociality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 128(1), 84-97.
  • Trivers R.L. (1971.) Evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology, 46, 35-57.
  • Trivers, R. L. (1985). Social evolution. Menlo Park, California: Benjamin/ Cummings. 
  • Warneken, F. (2013). The development of altruistic behavior: Helping in children and chimpanzees. Social Research, 80(2), 431-442.
  • Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2009). Varieties of altruism in children and chimpanzees. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(9), 397-402.
  • Warneken, F. and Tomasello, M. (2006). Altruistic helping in human infants and young chimpanzees. Science, 2006, 1301-1303.
  • Warneken, F., Chen, F., and Tomasello, M. (2006). Cooperative activities in young children and chimpanzees. Child Development, 77 (3), 640-663.

 Statement C

Morality is a "human universal" (i.e. exists across all cultures worldwide), a part of human nature acquired during evolution.

  • Boyd R., Gintis H., Bowles S., Richerson P.J. (2003). The evolution of altruistic punishment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 100, 3531-3535.
  • Brown, D.E. (1991). Human universals. New York : McGraw-Hill.
  • Cushman, F., Young, L., and Hauser, M.D. (2007). The role of conscious reasoning and intuition in moral judgments: Testing three principles of harm.Psychological Science, 17 (12), 1082-89.
  • Ebbesen, M. (2002). The Golden Rule and Bioethics. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
  • Fehr E., Fischbacher, U. and Gachter, S. (2002). Strong reciprocity, human cooperation, and the enforcement of social norms. Human Nature — an Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective 2002, 13:1-25.
  • Fiddick, L. (2004). Domains of deontic reasoning: Resolving the discrepancy between the cognitive and moral reasoning literatures. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57A, 447-474.
  • Fiddick, L. (2003). Is there a faculty of deontic reasoning? A critical reevaluation of abstract deontic versions of the Wason selection task. In D. Over (Ed.), Evolution and the psychology of thinking: The debate. (pp. 33-60). Psychology Press.
  • Gintis H., Bowles S., Boyd R. and Fehr E. (2003). Explaining altruistic behavior in humans. Evolution and Human Behavior, 24, 153-172.
  • Hauser, M. (2006). The liver and the moral organ. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1(3), 214-220.
  • Johnson, DDP (2005) God's punishment and public goods: A test of the supernatural punishment hypothesis in 186 world cultures. Human Nature 16 (4), 410–446
  • Kane, R. (1998). Through the Moral Maze: Searching for Absolute Values in a Pluralistic World. New York : Paragon House.
  • Lieberman, D. (2007). Moral sentiments relating to incest: Discerning adaptations from by–products. In W. Sinnott–Armstrong (Ed.), Moral Psychology Volume 1: The Evolution of Morality. Cambridge , MA : MIT Press.
  • Lieberman, D. & Symons, D. (1998).  Sibling incest avoidance: From Westermarck to Wolf. Quarterly Review of Biology, 73 (4), 463–466.
  • Lieberman, D., Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2003). Does morality have a biological basis? An empirical test of the factors governing moral sentiments regarding incest. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London B, 270, 819–826.
  • Sugiyama, L.S., Tooby, J. and Cosmides, L. (2002). Cross-cultural evidence of cognitive adaptations for social exchange among the Shiwiar of Ecuadorian Amazonia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(17) , 11537-11542.
  • Wade, M.J. and Breden, F. (1980). The evolution of cheating and selfish behavior. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 7 (3), 167-172.
  • Wattles, J. (1996). The golden rule. Oxford : Oxford University Press.
  • Wenegrat, B., Castillo-Yee, E. & Abrams, L. (1996) Social norm compliance as a signaling system: Studies of fitness-related attributions consequent on a group norm violation. Ethology and Sociobiology, 17 (6), 417-424.
  • Wiessner, P. (2005). Norm enforcement among the Ju/'hoansi Bushmen: A case of strong reciprocity? Human Nature, 16, 115-145.
  • Wilson, D. S. (2002). Evolution, morality and human potential. Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches. S. J. Scher and F. Rauscher, Kluwer Press: 55-70.

 Statement D

Young children and infants demonstrate some aspects of moral cognition and behavior (which precede specific learning experiences and worldview development).

  • Cummins, D.D. (1996). Evidence for the innateness of deontic reasoning. Mind and Language, 11, 160–190.
  • Cummins, D.D. (1996). Evidence of deontic reasoning in 3- and 4-year-olds.Memory and Cognition, 24, 823–29.
  • Fehr, E., Bernhard, H., & Rockenbach, B. (2008). Egalitarianism in young children. Nature454(7208), 1079-1083.
  • Hamlin, J. K., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (2007). Social evaluation by preverbal infants. Nature, 450, 557-559.
  • Hamlin, J.K., Wynn, K., & Bloom, P. (2010). Three ‐ month ‐ olds show a negativity bias in their social evaluations. Developmental Science, 13(6), 923-929.
  • Leslie, A.M., Knobe, J., & Cohen, A. (2006). Acting intentionally and the side-effect effect: 'Theory of mind' and moral judgment. Psychological Science17,421–427.
  • Leslie, A.M., Mallon, R., & DiCorcia, J.A. (2006). Transgressors, victims, and cry babies: Is basic moral judgment spared in autism? Social Neuroscience1 (3), 270 – 283.
  • Warneken, F. (2013). The development of altruistic behavior: Helping in children and chimpanzees. Social Research, 80(2), 431-442.
  • Warneken, F. (2013). Young children proactively remedy unnoticed accidents. Cognition, 126(1), 101-108.
  • Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2009). Varieties of altruism in children and chimpanzees. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(9), 397-402.
  • Warneken, F. , Hare, B., Melis, A.P., Hanus, D., & Tomasello, M. (2007) Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children. PLoS Biology, 5(7), e184.
  • Warneken, F. & Tomasello, M. (2007). Helping and cooperation at 14 months of age. Infancy, 11(3), 271-294.
  • Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2006). Altruistic helping in human infants and young chimpanzees. Science311(5765), 1301-1303.
  • Warneken, F., Chen, F., & Tomasello, M. (2006). Cooperative activities in young children and chimpanzees. Child Development, 77 (3), 640-663.

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