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Reviewing the Dual-Process Theory of Moral Judgment
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The dual-process theory of moral judgment by Joshua Greene has influenced

much of contemporary research on moral cognition. The dual-process research paradigm can

be argued to have yielded fruitful results. The results in general often indicate a dichotomy

between reasoning and emotional mechanisms. These results are interpreted in the existing

theoretical framework as producing specific differentiations in moral judgment among test

subjects. The experimental conditions expose subjects to moral dilemmas during functional

brain scanning. A competitive interaction between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and

ventromedial prefrontal cortex has been identified to affect subjects’ response. During more

recent years, critique aimed at the dual-process theory that falls into three main categories has

been raised against this paradigm. These problems may have negative effects on the results

derived from the dual-process paradigm. In this essay I will review problems within the

framework of the dual-process theory that concern terminology, where concepts tied to

normative ethics, can be misleading.

Researchers have also identified methodological

problems that are proposed to create extraneous emotional variables unaccounted for in the

dual-process theory.

I compare results and proposals from initial studies with the critique and

go through normative issues concerning what ethical conclusions neuroscientific data derived

from dual-process paradigm could give. My conclusion is that the dual-process theory is a

functional descriptive theory that needs to redefine its concepts, multiply emotional spectrum

analysis and divide itself from normative claims.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 47 p.
Keyword [en]
Utilitarianism, moral judgment, moral psychology, dual-process theory, vmPFCdamage, psychopathy
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11480OAI: diva2:850834
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Consciousness Studies - Philosophy and Neuropsychology
2015-05-21, G207, Skövde, 14:13 (English)
Available from: 2015-09-11 Created: 2015-09-02 Last updated: 2015-09-11Bibliographically approved

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