Fiery Cushman, Asst Prof Brown University


Fiery Cushman, Asst Prof Brown University

Sage 4101

February 27, 2013 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

How can we characterize the underlying cognitive mechanisms that give rise to moral judgment? Two different ways of making decisions have been identified in recent research in computational neuroscience. One chooses the action with the greatest expected value based on a detailed causal model of its likely outcomes. Another associates positive or negative feelings with particular actions intrinsically.  These two modes of thinking can conflict; for instance, a person might feel motivated to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because of a causal model indicating a likely beneficial outcome, while at the same time feeling hesitant because of an intrinsic aversion to the action of locking lips with a stranger.  I will present a series of studies demonstrating that this distinction between outcome-based and action-based decision-making accounts of the dual-system structure of moral judgment, with many benefits over the traditional distinction of emotion vs. reason.

Action, outcome and value:  A dual-system framework for morality and more

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