The Neuroscience of Moral Cognition and Emotion

Roland Zahn, Ricardo de Oliveira-Souza and Jorge Moll

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Neuroscience of Moral Cognition and Emotion

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  • Psychology
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The observation of profound changes in moral character after brain lesions in humans in the 19th century marked the beginning of modern moral neuroscience. These observations led to the notion that certain parts of our brains are necessary to enable moral beliefs, feelings, reasoning, knowledge, and behavior. This chapter summarizes recent evidence on the cognitive-anatomical components underlying moral values and sentiments which enable moral motivations. It then provides an overview of the neural basis of moral knowledge and the different accounts of moral reasoning and decision-making. The chapter closes with future directions for moral neuroscience research.

Keywords: moral character; moral values; moral knowledge; decision-making; moral neuroscience research; moral reasoning; moral emotions; social emotions

Article.  8489 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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