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Greene Study - Our multi-system moral psychology Towards a...

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Our multi-system moral psychology: Towards a consensus view Fiery Cushman, Liane Young, and Joshua D. Greene Introduction Science is a lot like an action thriller movie: the plot moves as mysterious facts are found to be connected. A car with out-of-state license plates, the gold tooth of the man behind the counter—loose strands of evidence are woven into a meaningful pattern. Substituting a runaway trolley for suspicious vehicles and dental anomalies, we suggest that something of a denouement is at hand in the field of moral psychology. A number of theoretical proposals that were at one time regarded as unconnected at best, and contradictory at worst, now show hope of reconciliation. At the core of this emerging consensus is a recognition that moral judgment is the product of interaction and competition between distinct psychological systems. The goal of the present essay is to describe these systems and to highlight important questions for future research. Recent research in moral psychology has focused on two challenges to the long- dominant cognitive development paradigm conceived by Piaget and nurtured by Kohlberg (Kohlberg, 1969; Piaget, 1965/1932; Turiel, 1983, 2005). The first challenge claims that moral judgment is accomplished by rapid, automatic and unconscious intuitions (Damasio, 1994; Haidt, 2001; Hauser, 2006; Mikhail, 2000; Schweder & Haidt, 1993), contra the cognitive developmentalists' assumption that moral judgment is the product of conscious principled reasoning. This challenge is built in part on studies demonstrating people's inability to articulate a rational basis for many strongly held moral convictions (Bjorklund, Haidt, & Murphy, 2000; Cushman, Young, & Hauser, 2006; Hauser, Cushman, Young, Jin, & Mikhail, 2007; Mikhail, 2000). The second and related challenge claims that moral judgment is driven primarily by affective responses (Blair, 1995; Damasio, 1994; Greene & Haidt, 2002; Schweder & Haidt, 1993), contra the cognitive developmentalists' assumption that moral judgment results from the application of general principles in a "cold" cognitive process. Evidence for the role of affect is largely neuroscientific (Borg, Hynes, Van Horn, Grafton, & Sinnott-Armstrong, 2006; Ciaramelli, Muccioli, Ladavas, & di Pellegrino, 2007; Damasio, 1994; Greene, Nystrom, Engell, Darley, & Cohen, 2004; Greene, Sommerville, Nystrom, Darley, & Cohen, 2001; Koenigs et al., 2007; Mendez, Anderson, & Shapria, 2005), but also includes behavioral studies of moral judgment using affective manipulations (Valdesolo & DeSteno, 2006; Wheatley & Haidt, 2005). The evidence that moral judgment is driven largely by intuitive emotional responses is strong, but it does not follow from this that emotional intuition is the whole story. Concerning the role of intuition, the research of Kohlberg and others indicates a truly astounding regularity in the development of explicit moral theories and their application to particular dilemmas (Kohlberg, 1969). Recent studies indicate that while people cannot offer principled justifications for some of their moral judgments, they are quite able to do so for others (Cushman et al., 2006), and that people alter some moral judgments when asked to engage in conscious reasoning (Pizarro, Uhlmann, & Bloom, 1
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