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 practically 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

One Soldier's Struggle With Torture, Trauma and Moral Injury

By Eric Newhouse on February 11, 2016 Invisible Wounds
LTC Bill Edmonds was put in an impossible situation: forced to decide between allowing torture to save American lives or risking death to American soldiers.

Art Therapy in Prison Is Social Justice

Is art therapy in prison social justice? If social justice is about giving the marginalized and disenfranchised members of society a chance, then the answer has to be "yes".

Is the Love You Take Always Equal to the Love You Make?

Are equality and reciprocity essential to romantic relations, as is commonly assumed? The surprising answer is negative: they are not necessary, not always, and not every kind.

Secularism and the City

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on February 10, 2016 The Secular Life
The most secular cities in America are among the best in America.

The Best Leaders Lead by Example

By Victor Lipman on February 10, 2016 Mind of the Manager
Two highly practical reasons why leading by example makes excellent career and business sense: 1) It's effective. 2) It makes people want to follow.

Should I Let My Kid Play Football?

Parents whose kids want to play football should consider the other ways in which their kids might get its benefits without incurring the risk of serious harm.

Breaking the S Barrier in New Hampshire

The Great Depression brought FDR and the New Deal. Now, the Great Recession seems to have allowed the word "socialism" to come in from the cold in American politics.

Depathologizing Sexual Eroticism

Discovering a partner’s surprising porn-viewing habits can be disturbing, but it can also be a gateway to greater understanding and compassion.

The "Wild Man"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 08, 2016 How To Do Life
On getting a terminal diagnosis, a man became radically honest. Was that wise?

How Easy/Hard Is It For Us To Trust?

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on February 07, 2016 Jacob's Staff
What contributes to distrust in society? What happens to innovation when distrust prevails? What changes might we have to make to inspire a positive vision of the future?

Why You Should Cuddle Your Kids: Adult Health and Morality

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 07, 2016 Moral Landscapes
Did you receive affection, play freely and feel supported in childhood?

Why People Buy

How do consumers transition from disinterest in a product or service to urgently wanting that same product or service? It is all about psychology.

Seriously—Do You Have Someone Else’s Conscience?

The question posed in this post’s title may sound almost nonsensical. How could you possibly be a victim of another’s conscience? Still, ask yourself: Is your super-ego tyrannical?

The Affluenza Defense

Poor black boys who steal booze and cars and recklessly kill people should be treated like the rich white boys, not vice versa.

Punching Anti-Gay Hate Right in the Nose

By Rebecca Coffey on February 01, 2016 The Bejeezus Out of Me
One amazing organization providing safety and support to homeless LGBTQ kids was bombarded by hate — by a church. What happened next will knock your socks off.

Drug Courts and the Restoration of Dignity

Drug courts recognize the humanity of drug users.

The Sexual Ethics of Star Wars

Why must erotic love compromise a person's ability to use the Force for good?

Why the FDA's Move to Restrict ECT Should Alarm Us All

By Amy S.F. Lutz on January 29, 2016 Inspectrum
The FDA is moving to restrict access to a treatment that 100,000 Americans turn to every year to resolve devastating psychiatric illnesses – including my son. We can stop them.

The Worst State in the Country for LGBT Rights?

By Rebecca Coffey on January 29, 2016 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Oklahoma's legislators are currently considering 25 bills that would threaten LGBT rights. Don't they know what Sigmund Freud learned—the hard way?

Day 12: Michael Cornwall on Being Present to "Madness"

The future of mental health interview series continues with Michael Cornwall on being present to "madness."

Achieving Happiness: Advice from Pascal

Pascal wants us to consider the big questions of life and give them the attention and deep thought that they deserve.

Binge-Watching: If You're Feeling Ashamed, Get Over it

Binge watching describes watching multiple episodes of a TV show in one sitting. There is nothing wrong with it, so if you’re feeling ashamed of yourself, get over it. Here's why.

Star Wars: Answering the Big Questions

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on January 27, 2016 Plato on Pop
Who are Rey’s parents? Why exactly did Luke go into hiding? Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? What’s the deal with Kylo’s lightsaber? Careful reasoning might reveal the answer.

Star Wars Psychology: How Does a Stormtrooper Learn to Hug?

Raised since infancy to obey orders, one soldier refuses to take part in a massacre. Why does he then readily kill other stormtroopers, and when did he learn to greet with a hug?

Behind the Mask - Inside a Psychopathic Romance

By Rhonda Freeman Ph.D. on January 26, 2016 NeuroSagacity
Most with psychopathy are nothing like what we might imagine (i.e., the socially awkward loner, disengaged from society, plotting to do harm.) Actually, they often have attractive

Fat = Lazy & Gluttonous, says World Health Organization

Weight stigma is everywhere. Including the World Health Organization.

The Case for Greater Authenticity

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on January 25, 2016 How To Do Life
We live in a world that rewards hype and dishonesty. Should we capitulate?

The Myth of “Breastfeeding is Optional”

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 24, 2016 Moral Landscapes
The book, Lactivism, purports to shoot down breastfeeding. Let’s examine its wrong baselines and assumptions. Breastfeeding is not an option for a baby who wants to develop well.

The Psychology of Supremacism: Whether White, Male or Human

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 24, 2016 Moral Landscapes
As a child the women around me routinely warned each other not to insult the ego of a nearby male. Male supremacism was not challenged, till later. How about human supremacy?

Should the Social Media Be Called the Antisocial Media?

Some people who commented in an on-line forum on a suicide in Sweden showed a shocking callousness. Did they express it simply because they could?