Emotion-based learning systems and the development of morality.

Research paper by R J R RJ Blair

Indexed on: 12 Apr '17Published on: 12 Apr '17Published in: Cognition


In this paper it is proposed that important components of moral development and moral judgment rely on two forms of emotional learning: stimulus-reinforcement and response-outcome learning. Data in support of this position will be primarily drawn from work with individuals with the developmental condition of psychopathy as well as fMRI studies with healthy individuals. Individuals with psychopathy show impairment on moral judgment tasks and a pronounced increased risk for instrumental antisocial behavior. It will be argued that these impairments are developmental consequences of impaired stimulus-aversive conditioning on the basis of distress cue reinforcers and response-outcome learning in individuals with this disorder.