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

Living By Simple Moral Codes Makes Us Worse, Not Better

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 27, 2017 in Ambigamy
Always be honest, never dishonest, kind, never unkind, open, never closed. We can't live by such always-principles and we pay a big price for pretending we can.

From Outer Space, Three Guideposts for the Resistance

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on June 27, 2017 in Dangerous Ideas
For the Trump resistance, chronicles of aliens from outer space offer some surprisingly valuable guideposts about key psychological challenges that lie ahead.

Wonder Woman and Wondering

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 26, 2017 in Ambigamy
Everyone is motivated by inspirational movies. This should cause us to wonder more about their lessons, like believing in yourself or that love is the answer.

How the News Media Make Monsters

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on June 26, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
The news media frequently refer to murderers in nonhuman and supernatural terms, using inflammatory words like evil, vampire, and monster.

“Girls Rule!”

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 26, 2017 in How To Do Life
What your boy is seeing about his sex

Bragitude

Don’t brag about how grateful you are. It’s too transparent.

Ethical Dilemmas

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in How To Do Life
Exploring nine common conundrums.

Understanding the Personality of Moral Rebels

What does it take to do the right thing in the face of social pressure to conform? And what does this suggest for claims that moral behavior is controlled by situational forces?

My Friend Is Backing Out of Our Trip

Whether this relationship is romantic or platonic, it sounds like he just isn’t that into you.

Money, Pride, and Injury Risks in Youth Sports

There are too many people focused on making money off of youth sports in the United States, while putting the health and other interests of young athletes at risk.

Where Have All Our Values Gone?

America's progressive values, long a beacon of light the world over, are in danger of deteriorating as selfishness and incivility are prominent in public discourse and behavior.

The Knee-Jerk Apologist

Why do some people apologize for everything?

Our Worst Angels: Inconvenient Psychological Truths, Part 1

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Insight Therapy
What might rappers, gender studies academics, and abusive parents have in common?

Why Are Toddlers So Stubborn and Teens So Aloof?

You can spend a lot of time, nearly all of your time, raising children and still not be given the opportunity to reflect on how odd some of the stages are.

Free Speech and Thought on Campus

Whatever one's views are concerning politics, ethics, and religion, we should engage in discussion, dialogue, and debate about these issues.

Sticking With Your Goals

By Katherine Hawley Ph.D. on June 21, 2017 in Trust
If you're struggling to achieve your goals, try recruiting a little help from your friends.
Cate Turton/Department for International Development

Four Talks to Change How You Think about the Refugee Crisis

When it comes to engaging the complex issues surrounding the global refugee crisis, listening to those with experience and expertise is essential.
stockfreeimages /14114118/Harbor-at-Sunset purchased on free trial

Globalization and Work: Have We Learned Anything Yet?

Free trade raises GDP but has its losers as well as its winners. It’s time to exchange the “winners could compensate losers” slogan for a “winners must compensate losers” policy.

Why Does the Religious Right Hate Your Birth Control?

By Marty Klein PhD on June 19, 2017 in Sexual Intelligence
Scripture doesn't mention birth control. So why are many religious people against it—for you?

What Is Justice and When Is It Served?

When a court's factual findings differ from reality, it erases actual lived experiences.

Innovation Handmaids

By Moses Ma on June 18, 2017 in The Tao of Innovation
What can The Handmaid's Tale teach us about technology innovation?

The Gambler's Fallacy in Research

Clinical research differs from patient care in its goals and priorities. How are the two different and what are the gambler's fallacy and therapeutic misconception?

A Behavioral Science Solution to Lies in Politics

Tired of lies in politics? Here's a way to address the problem.

Moral Beliefs Affect Liking for Other Groups

By Art Markman Ph.D. on June 16, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
It is unsurprising that we like people who believe what we do. Does any difference in moral values decrease how much time we want to spend with them?

Getting Straight About Love and Hate

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 16, 2017 in Ambigamy
We say we have love, not hate, in our hearts. It's not that simple.

Blame: A Not So Guilty Pleasure

By Mark Alicke Ph.D. on June 14, 2017 in Why We Blame
Everyone tells us that blame is a sin and to forgive is divine. Think again.

Atheist in Appalachia

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on June 14, 2017 in The Secular Life
What's it like being secular in the Bible Belt?

Pain, Suffering, Basic Humanity

As a life-saving alarm system, pain keeps us focused on distress, for the purpose of relieving it, that is, pain motivates behavior that will help heal, repair, or improve.
Frank McKenna

Thick and Thin

It seems, in the end, the character trait most in question is, well, character.

What Can We Learn from Body Cameras?

We now have data to back up the widespread claim that not all drivers are treated equally.