Culture, theory-of-mind, and morality: How independent and interdependent minds make moral judgments.

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Date: Oct. 2022
From: Biological Psychology(Vol. 174)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 310 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Culture; Moral judgment; Theory-of-mind Highlights * A systematic mechanism to explain cultural differences in moral judgment is lacking. * Different concepts of self would account for how culture shapes moral judgments. * Consideration of mental states and causal attribution may channel the effect of self-concept. * Theory-of-mind (ToM) network could explain the cultural shaping of moral judgment. Abstract Although the investigation of the neural mechanisms of morality has increased in recent years, the neural underpinnings of cultural variations in judgments of morality is understudied. In this paper, we propose that the well-established cultural differences in two cognitive processes, consideration of mental state and causal attribution, would lead to differences in moral judgment. Specifically, North Americans rely heavily on the mental state of a protagonist and dispositional attributions, whereas East Asians focus more on situational attributions and place less emphasis on the mental state of a protagonist. These differences would be accounted for by activity in brain regions implicated in thinking about others' minds, or theory-of-mind (ToM), which would underlie the cultural shaping of moral judgment. This proposed cultural neuroscience approach may broaden the scope of morality research, better predict moral behavior, and reduce disparities in diverse groups' moral judgment. Author Affiliation: (a) The University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W Campbell Rd., Richardson, TX 75080, USA (b) North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC 27695, USA (c) Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 21 December 2020; Revised 30 August 2022; Accepted 1 September 2022 (footnote)[white star] AUTHOR'S NOTE: We thank UT Dallas SPRING lab and Boston College Morality lab for feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript; Valerie Smith and Olivia Drake for their help with the draft; and two anonymous reviewers for their comments. Byline: BoKyung Park [] (a,*), Swathi Vepachedu (a,b), Poorvi Keshava (a,c), Sean Minns (a)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A721718547