The Science of Morality

The Morality Lab at Boston College applies modern behavioral and neuroimaging methods to identify the psychological and brain bases of moral judgments. This work is conducted with typical participants as well as those with brain lesions who have selective cognitive deficits. “Morality fascinates people; everyone has opinions about moral problems and their own answers to moral questions,” said Liane Young, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Boston College and director of the Morality Lab. “People can experience moral disagreements not only with others, including close friends and family, but within themselves as well, in the case of moral dilemmas.” A major clue regarding what underlies moral judgments comes from Young’s discovery more than a decade ago that certain brain regions involved in “theory of mind” are recruited for people’s assessments of moral right and wrong.

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