Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (10):3162-3180 (2011)

Authors
Angela Mendelovici
University of Western Ontario
Victoria McGeer
Princeton University
Abstract
Much recent research has sought to uncover the neural basis of moral judgment. However, it has remained unclear whether "moral judgments" are sufficiently homogenous to be studied scientifically as a unified category. We tested this assumption by using fMRI to examine the neural correlates of moral judgments within three moral areas: (physical) harm, dishonesty, and (sexual) disgust. We found that the judgment ofmoral wrongness was subserved by distinct neural systems for each of the different moral areas and that these differences were much more robust than differences in wrongness judgments within a moral area. Dishonest, disgusting, and harmful moral transgression recruited networks of brain regions associated with mentalizing, affective processing, and action understanding, respectively. Dorsal medial pFC was the only region activated by all scenarios judged to be morally wrong in comparison with neutral scenarios. However, this region was also activated by dishonest and harmful scenarios judged not to be morally wrong, suggestive of a domain-general role that is neither peculiar to nor predictive of moral decisions. These results suggest that moral judgment is not a wholly unified faculty in the human brain, but rather, instantiated in dissociable neural systems that are engaged differentially depending on the type of transgression being judged.
Keywords moral psychology  moral judgments  neural basis of moral judgments  unity of morality
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Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Meet Evolutionary Science.Arnon Levy & Yair Levy - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):491-509.
Neuroethics and the Possible Types of Moral Enhancement.John R. Shook - 2012 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 3 (4):3-14.
The Neuroscience of Moral Judgment: Empirical and Philosophical Developments.Joshua May, Clifford I. Workman, Julia Haas & Hyemin Han - forthcoming - In Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Neuroscience and Philosophy. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.
Are Moral Judgments Unified?Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Thalia Wheatley - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (4):451-474.

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