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

The Trump Effect Part 1

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, increased bullying incidences in our schools have spread to include violent acts across our nation spurred by the rhetoric of one man.

One Recipe for Clearly Unethical Performance

I spend a lot of time helping students and colleagues develop the skills they need to think and behave more ethically. Today, I want to look at the other side of the coin.
Wider Film Projects

God Knows Where I Am

This documentary takes us into the life of Linda Bishop, and her family and caregivers. She was found dead in a New Hampshire home several months after her hospital discharge.

Animals Need More Freedom, Not Bigger Cages

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 28, 2017 in Animal Emotions
As the late Tom Regan stressed, "...the only adequate moral response to vivisection is empty cages, not larger cages." Animals in all human dominated venues need more freedom.

Does Fixing Pets Need Fixing?

A new book on the ethics of keeping companion animals raises many hitherto undebated issues.

Humility and Sports

Sports can be a school for the virtue of humility, but many aren't allowing this to happen. Fortunately, we can change this, if we are intentional about it.

The Animals' Agenda: An interview About Animal Well-Being

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 25, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new book titled "The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age" argues animal welfare needs to be replaced with the science of animal well-being.

Could Your Brain Make You Do Insane Things?

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on March 25, 2017 in Creating in Flow
A brain tumor may figure in the insanity defense of the youth who fake-called Jewish community centers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Brain-imaging is gaining credence in courts.

On Giving

By Kate Levinson Ph.D. on March 25, 2017 in Emotional Currency
Gifting is contagious. And as the Pope says, it is "always right" to give to the needy.

Is It the Business of the University to Silence Voices?

The issue of freedom of expression is coming to a head on our campuses.

Stop Playing The Blame Game

By Grant H. Brenner M.D. on March 24, 2017 in ExperiMentations
We tend to blame easily, at our peril. Blaming can take the place of thinking, and lead to vicious cycles. Understanding how blame works can help us make better choices.

What Happens When You Lie by Telling the Truth?

By Art Markman Ph.D. on March 22, 2017 in Ulterior Motives
Deception is a common activity among people. There are many ways to do it, and they have different influences on ourselves and other people.

The 3 C’s of Engaging Political Discourse and Behavior

Without a commitment to civility, compassion, and the common good it is hard to image a hopeful future for any of us.

The Mindset That Makes It Hard to Admit You're Wrong

People make mistakes all the time, but for many of us, admitting to them is painful and hard. Figuring out how to apologize can at least get you on the right pathway.

The Life Lessons of Children

Adults who can recognize children as teachers can learn some life skills that might improve their own life experience.

Guilt Me Not

Stop the guilt talk in your head.

Social Norms, Moral Judgments, and Irrational Parenting

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on March 19, 2017 in Freedom to Learn
We are all conformists; it’s part of human nature. But sometimes our conformist nature leads us to do things that are downright silly or, worse, tragic.

The Meaning of Adam and Eve

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 18, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Was the fall from Eden a price worth paying?

Why Men Post Revenge Porn Pictures

By David J Ley Ph.D. on March 17, 2017 in Women Who Stray
The culture has been rocked by more nude photo scandals, and they won't stop until we have thoughtful, nuanced conversations about why they happen.

What Is the Future of Genetic Testing?

Anxious about the onslaught of genetic tests? A new book weeds through the morass.

Can a Country Lacking Empathy Toward Others Be Great?

Caring for others and a commitment to fairness are essential to a healthy, civil, and just society.

The Sustaining Fires of Standing Rock: A Movement Grows

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on March 17, 2017 in Dangerous Ideas
Oil profiteers have awakened a movement that combines a commitment to addressing the trampled rights of Native Americans with a reinvigorated call for climate justice.

What's the Difference Between Guilt and Shame?

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 16, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Shame and guilt often go hand in hand, which is why they are readily confused.

My Favorite Psychology Study

Was the good Samaritan more upstanding than everyone else was? Or did he just have more time? This is the story of my favorite psychology study.

Courting Controversy

By Jesse Marczyk Ph.D. on March 15, 2017 in Pop Psych
Talking about taboo topics in long, boring ways

Moral Incentives for Dummies

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 14, 2017 in Ambigamy
What is basic morality and what incentive system does best to promote it?

The Morality of Monetary Motivation

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on March 14, 2017 in Scientocracy
In a perfect world, we would not need to reward anyone for taking their kid to the doctor. In the imperfect world we live in, such rewards are far better than the alternative.

Well-being in Iceland has Flaws, Too

Although this country has thriving citizens in an awe-inspiring environment, it's not problem-free. That makes it more normal. Plea to tourists: "Look at the road, not the sky!"

Physician Assisted Suicide - a type of Euthanasia

Physician Assisted Suicide is but a subdivision of euthanasia, and as quality of death becomes a more relevant societal issue, legal and political pressure for it will grow.
K. Ramsland

Murder Buddies

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 13, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
Some adolescent friendships go down a dark path, but there are strategies for parents who want to deflect them.