What Is Morality?

For a topic as subjective as morality, people sure have strong beliefs about what's right and wrong. Yet even though morals can vary from person to person and culture to culture, many are universal, as they result from basic human emotions. We may think of moralizing as an intellectual exercise, but more frequently it's an attempt to make sense of our gut instincts.

Recent posts on Ethics and Morality

How the Media Influences Us...Perhaps Without Our Awareness

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in How To Do Life
We explore using an example: the play, The Book of Mormon.

Your Legacy After You Die: Will It Be Anger or Love?

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
When you die, you might leave a legacy of anger in the world that could be passed to your children. Or you could leave a legacy of love that is passed on as a gift to others.

Psychiatric Treatment as Religious Experience

Like all religions, psychiatry's aim is social control and the explanation of deviant and socially undesirable human behavior.

Can You Sue Someone Over a Broken Promise?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on August 18, 2017 in So Sue Me
Have you ever relied on someone's promise, only to be hurt when that promise was broken? Promissory estoppel is the little-known legal doctrine that holds people to their word.

How Social Contagion Helps Explain Our Pet Choices

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 18, 2017 in Animals and Us
The craze for flat-faced dogs may have been produced by the same mob mentality that caused a wave of pet euthanasia in 1939.

The Civil War Continues in Charlottesville

The science of social connection explains the allure of racist supremacist movements, and what we can do to reverse bias and discrimination.

Keeping Track

By Jean Kazez on August 16, 2017 in The Philosophical Parent
Is it ethical to use Find-My-iPhone to track your kids?

Wolves and Cows: Individual and Organizational Conflicts

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 16, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Killing wolves in Washington causes personal conflicts. Some groups say they're against killing but don't publicly say no, and some individuals who work for them want to but don't.

A Moral Compass for Troubling Times

We need a clear moral compass during these complicated times.

Fantasies of Other Lovers? Relax, Almost Everyone Has Them

By Michael Castleman M.A. on August 15, 2017 in All About Sex
While making love with your honey, do you have erotic fantasies of other lovers? If not, you're unusual.

What Keeps the APA from Healing?

By Alice LoCicero Ph.D. on August 15, 2017 in Paradigm Shift
Is APA hiding something from psychology students?

Psychology Informs Us About Hate Groups

Decades of psychological research helps us better understand hate group behaviors. Learning from much of this research can make the incomprehensible more comprehensible.

Responding to Hate: Should We Just “Love One Another”?

Is "just love one other" a solution to rise of hate in the United States? Or do we need to take a deeper look at issues of social justice and human rights?
media-cache

Why We Hate People Who Disagree

By Mark Alicke Ph.D. on August 13, 2017 in Why We Blame
Can we like people who disagree with us?

The Psychopathology of Shakespeare’s Most Evil Villains

And thus I clothe my naked villainy / With odd old ends stol'n forth of holy writ, / And seem a saint when most I play the devil. — Richard III

Diversity Includes Intellectual Diversity

James Damore, an engineer with Google, was fired for sending out a memo suggesting that our understanding of human nature should inform corporate policy. We have a long way to go.

Why Leaders With a Moral Purpose Have More Engaged Workers

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on August 12, 2017 in The New Resilience
A sense of purpose underlies what we go after, or pass by; and affects the consequences of both. A new study shows how a moral vision of leaders leads to more productive workers.

The Psychology of the New McCarthyism

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on August 11, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
On the rising threat to science and basic human rights in America.

Even Psychologists Need Help with Civility Guidelines

APA's efforts to improve civility might become a best practice that other groups could benefit from. Time will tell but hopefully, psychologists are onto something here.

An In-depth Analysis of the Crisis at Google

The crisis at Google in the wake of the Damore memo controversy is an unfortunate symptom of our hyperpolarized society. This post explains how to understand it and move forward.

When Words Can Kill

The power of words can traumatize and ultimately lead to suicide, or they positively lead to healing. Here's how.

Health Care and Equality in India

By Marc Nemiroff Ph. D. on August 10, 2017 in Where the Heart Is
Indian health care: Is America listening?

Slow Your Roll, ‘Pharma Bro’

How can we restore access to unaffordable medications?

The Case for Not Giving Grades

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 10, 2017 in How To Do Life
Furthering intrinsic motivation while reducing undue student stress.

Criticizing a Saint Part 2

Revisiting the decision not to interview Viktor Frankl.
olm26250/iStock

Truth

By Matt James Ph.D. on August 09, 2017 in Focus on Forgiveness
In today’s world, truth seems to be a slippery concept. Learn how empowering the the Hawaiian practice of ‘oia’i’o’ can be in your life.

Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Bible

By Neel Burton M.D. on August 09, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Many traditional attitudes have come down from the Bible. What is their basis?

Zoos Shall Not Kill Healthy Animals: A Moral Imperative

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 09, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Zoos kill healthy animals when they don't fit into their breeding program. They call it management euthanasia, but it isn't euthanasia, but rather "zoothanasia," and it should end.

Beware of the Power Elite in Society

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on August 07, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
The late, visionary sociologist C. Wright Mills warned that acts of elite deviance that cause social or criminal harm are part of the “higher immorality of the power elite.”