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Moral Cognition and Moral Emotions

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Neuroscience and Social Science

Abstract

Moral cognition, a central aspect of human social functioning, involves complex interactions between emotion and reasoning to tell right from wrong. In this chapter, we summarize the cognitive neuroscience literature on moral cognition and moral emotions, highlighting their close relationship with other social cognition domains. We consider neuroimaging research and behavioral/neuropsychological evidence of moral impairments in patients with psychiatric and neurological conditions. We also describe cognitive neuroscience models claiming that moral cognition processes are shaped by the encompassing social context. These views emphasize how cultural and context-dependent knowledge, as well as motivational states, can be integrated to explain complex aspects of human moral cognition. Finally, we address real-life social scenarios on which available studies could make a direct impact. More generally, we analyze the extent to which moral cognition research can help to understand human social behavior and complex social-moral circumstances.

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Acknowledgments

This work was partially supported by grants from CONICET and the INECO Foundation.

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Correspondence to Sandra Baez or Hernando Santamaría-García .

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Baez, S., García, A.M., Santamaría-García, H. (2017). Moral Cognition and Moral Emotions. In: Ibáñez, A., Sedeño, L., García, A. (eds) Neuroscience and Social Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68421-5_8

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