Norms with feeling: Towards a psychological account of moral judgment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

192 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a large tradition of work in moral psychology that explores the capacity for moral judgment by focusing on the basic capacity to distinguish moral violations (e.g. hitting another person) from conventional violations (e.g. playing with your food). However, only recently have there been attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying moral judgment (e.g. Cognition 57 (1995) 1; Ethics 103 (1993) 337). Recent evidence indicates that affect plays a crucial role in mediating the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction. However, the prevailing account of the role of affect in moral judgment is problematic. This paper argues that the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction depends on both a body of information about which actions are prohibited (a Normative Theory) and an affective mechanism. This account leads to the prediction that other normative prohibitions that are connected to an affective mechanism might be treated as non-conventional. An experiment is presented that indicates that "disgust" violations (e.g. spitting at the table), are distinguished from conventional violations along the same dimensions as moral violations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalCognition
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

moral judgement
Emotions
Psychology
Ethics
Cognition
Food
cognition
psychology
moral philosophy
food
human being
Moral Judgment
Psychological
Violations
experiment
Conventional
evidence

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Moral judgment
  • Moral psychology
  • Moral/conventional distinction
  • Norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Norms with feeling : Towards a psychological account of moral judgment. / Nichols, Shaun B.

In: Cognition, Vol. 84, No. 2, 2002, p. 221-236.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{3c031f651f5b483a946c7c3e54592e10,
title = "Norms with feeling: Towards a psychological account of moral judgment",
abstract = "There is a large tradition of work in moral psychology that explores the capacity for moral judgment by focusing on the basic capacity to distinguish moral violations (e.g. hitting another person) from conventional violations (e.g. playing with your food). However, only recently have there been attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying moral judgment (e.g. Cognition 57 (1995) 1; Ethics 103 (1993) 337). Recent evidence indicates that affect plays a crucial role in mediating the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction. However, the prevailing account of the role of affect in moral judgment is problematic. This paper argues that the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction depends on both a body of information about which actions are prohibited (a Normative Theory) and an affective mechanism. This account leads to the prediction that other normative prohibitions that are connected to an affective mechanism might be treated as non-conventional. An experiment is presented that indicates that {"}disgust{"} violations (e.g. spitting at the table), are distinguished from conventional violations along the same dimensions as moral violations.",
keywords = "Disgust, Moral judgment, Moral psychology, Moral/conventional distinction, Norms",
author = "Nichols, {Shaun B}",
year = "2002",
doi = "10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00048-3",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "84",
pages = "221--236",
journal = "Cognition",
issn = "0010-0277",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Norms with feeling

T2 - Towards a psychological account of moral judgment

AU - Nichols, Shaun B

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - There is a large tradition of work in moral psychology that explores the capacity for moral judgment by focusing on the basic capacity to distinguish moral violations (e.g. hitting another person) from conventional violations (e.g. playing with your food). However, only recently have there been attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying moral judgment (e.g. Cognition 57 (1995) 1; Ethics 103 (1993) 337). Recent evidence indicates that affect plays a crucial role in mediating the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction. However, the prevailing account of the role of affect in moral judgment is problematic. This paper argues that the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction depends on both a body of information about which actions are prohibited (a Normative Theory) and an affective mechanism. This account leads to the prediction that other normative prohibitions that are connected to an affective mechanism might be treated as non-conventional. An experiment is presented that indicates that "disgust" violations (e.g. spitting at the table), are distinguished from conventional violations along the same dimensions as moral violations.

AB - There is a large tradition of work in moral psychology that explores the capacity for moral judgment by focusing on the basic capacity to distinguish moral violations (e.g. hitting another person) from conventional violations (e.g. playing with your food). However, only recently have there been attempts to characterize the cognitive mechanisms underlying moral judgment (e.g. Cognition 57 (1995) 1; Ethics 103 (1993) 337). Recent evidence indicates that affect plays a crucial role in mediating the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction. However, the prevailing account of the role of affect in moral judgment is problematic. This paper argues that the capacity to draw the moral/conventional distinction depends on both a body of information about which actions are prohibited (a Normative Theory) and an affective mechanism. This account leads to the prediction that other normative prohibitions that are connected to an affective mechanism might be treated as non-conventional. An experiment is presented that indicates that "disgust" violations (e.g. spitting at the table), are distinguished from conventional violations along the same dimensions as moral violations.

KW - Disgust

KW - Moral judgment

KW - Moral psychology

KW - Moral/conventional distinction

KW - Norms

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0036095469&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0036095469&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00048-3

DO - 10.1016/S0010-0277(02)00048-3

M3 - Article

C2 - 12175573

AN - SCOPUS:0036095469

VL - 84

SP - 221

EP - 236

JO - Cognition

JF - Cognition

SN - 0010-0277

IS - 2

ER -