The neuroscience of moral cognition: From dual processes to dynamic systems

Jay J. Van Bavel, Oriel FeldmanHall, Peter Mende-Siedlecki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Prominent theories of morality have integrated philosophy with psychology and biology. Although this approach has been highly generative, we argue that it does not fully capture the rich and dynamic nature of moral cognition. We review research from the dual-process tradition, in which moral intuitions are automatically elicited and reasoning is subsequently deployed to correct these initial intuitions. We then describe how the computations underlying moral cognition are diverse and widely distributed throughout the brain. Finally, we illustrate how social context modulates these computations, recruiting different systems for real (vs. hypothetical) moral judgments, examining the dynamic process by which moral judgments are updated. In sum, we advocate for a shift from dual-process to dynamic system models of moral cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The neuroscience of moral cognition: From dual processes to dynamic systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this