By Fiery Cushman
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Available online 17 January 2015
Current research into the neural basis of moral decision-making endorses a common theme: The mechanisms we use to make value-guided decisions concerning each other are remarkably similar to those we use to make value-guided decisions for ourselves. In other words, moral decisions are just another kind of ordinary decision. Yet, there is something unsettling about this conclusion: We often feel as if morality places an absolute constraint on our behavior, in a way unlike ordinary personal concerns. What is the neural and psychological basis of this feeling of moral constraint? Several models are considered and outstanding questions highlighted.
• Morality involves concern for others, and constraints on action.
• Our concern for others is processed similarly to our concern for ourselves.
• Much less is understood about the neural basis of our sense of ‘constraint’.
• Some evidence favors a role for model-free value representation.
• Some evidence favors a role for mechanisms of third party evaluation.
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