Roland Zahn, Ricardo de Oliveira-Souza, & Jorge Moll
International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition)
2015, Pages 606–618
Moral behavior is one of the most sophisticated human abilities. Many social species behave altruistically toward their kin, but humans are unique in their ability to serve complex and changing societal needs. Cognitive neuroscience has started to elucidate specific brain mechanisms underpinning moral behavior, emotion, and motivation, emphasizing that these ingredients are also germane to human biology, rather than pure societal artifacts. The brain is where psychosocial learning and biology meet to produce the rich individual variability in moral behavior. This article discusses how cognitive neuroscience improves the understanding of this variability and associated suffering in neuropsychiatric conditions.
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