University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > Morality in the Body: Influences of Bodily Experience on Moral Judgments and Decisions

Morality in the Body: Influences of Bodily Experience on Moral Judgments and Decisions

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Morality has historically been treated as external and prescriptive, with source varying from scriptural revelation to inherent natural law. Post-Enlightenment society sought to ground the source of moral judgement in rational enquiry, building on an idea of moral law analogous to the natural law of physics and natural history. Recent advances in philosophy, psychology, and other related fields, however, have begun to see morality as at least partly rooted in the body. In this talk we present a series of empirical investigations that connect moral judgement and decision making to the body by showing that moral reasoning is not only guided by purity based metaphors such that disgust and cleanliness influence moral judgement but also is more generally grounded in concrete bodily experiences. The latter perspective suggests that the acquisition and application of moral conventions often requires the participation of somatic and physiological experiences such as cardiovascular reaction (e.g., heart beat) that signal moral values and aid moral imagination. Understanding how these bodily experiences influence moral judgement and decision making could inform us about the nature of morality.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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