Social Cognition [Cologne, Germany]
How bad is it to make jokes about your colleague’s new jacket? Would that be a hostile act of bullying or a friendly act of teasing? How grave is a particular case of rape and, as a consequence, what would be an adequate sentence? These questions do not involve abstract moral dilemmas but realistic moral scenarios we might face in our everyday life. Nevertheless, our moral responses may entail severe consequences for the individuals who are involved in the respective situations. In the Social Psychology Component of our research project on intuition and emotion in moral decision making, we aim to find out, under what circumstances experts are better at moral decision making than non-experts. Building on previous research, we would expect that there are conditions, under which experts might be even more open to potentially biasing influences like their own emotions, feelings of funniness or perceived expectations in their professional judgment, causing them to overcorrect for potential biases. In order to test for these assumptions, we develop realistic and daily moral dilemmata and scenarios.
Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics [Oxford, Great Britain]
The aims of the philosophy component at Oxford are to clarify conceptual and methodological issues in scientific research on the role of emotion and intuition and moral decision-making, and to critically investigate the prospects of valid inferences from neuroscientific findings to ethical conclusions. We are also actively engaged in contributing philosophical input into the design and interpretation of scientific research on moral psychology. In addition, we are interested in whether such research might suggest new ways to improve, or even radically enhance, moral behaviour.
Theory and History of Psychology [Groningen, The Netherlands]
These days, neuroscience seems competent to explain human mind and behavior in their totality. As a consequence, every aspect of human psychology is rendered in terms of the brain, including morality. The result is a scientific approach that aims to study morality via the brain, yielding a research endeavor that can be framed as brain-based moral psychology. This endeavor is of long standing, traceable at least to the 19th century. The Groningen group aims to illuminate this field of research from various angles. The over-arching goal is to describe why, when, where, how, and with which consequences the brain was utilized in the study of morality. This will be done by delineating theoretical and conceptual shifts in the field , describing the 'im-/moral person' as it is constituted by science and society , investigating the methods and technologies that are applied in the endeavor , and by analyzing the dissemination of ideas from the research field into other public and professional domains.