Morality And The Emotional Brain

Morality And The Emotional Brain


On April 6, 2010, Dr. Shaun Nichols, Professor, Philosophy, presented the final lecture in the University of Arizona College of Science's Mind and Brain Lecture Series. Does morality come from the emotions, or from rational thought? Philosophers have struggled with this question for centuries. Recent work in cognitive science suggests that emotions play a critical role in the normal ability to think about morality. Studies indicate that psychopaths have a deficient understanding of morality, and when abnormalities are found in brain regions associated with emotions, these same patients make atypical decisions about difficult moral problems. Emotions alone do not completely account for moral judgment, but the emotional brain shapes our models of what it is to be moral.

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