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Lecture 13

PSYC 354 Lecture 13: CH. 14 lecture notes
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 354
Professor
Jeremy Carpendale
Semester
Spring

Description
Psyc354 – March. 30/17 1 Psyc354: Moral Development II • Course evaluations are online, so fill them out if we can • There will be a Q&A period on Tuesday, 10-11:30 at RCB6152 Morality: • While morality is difficult to define, it is kind of like language; there are many different developmental processes that work and develop to form what we say is ‘morality’ o It is hard to distinctly draw a line and say what causes what • Morality at a grander level, such as concern for other, then we know that our actions have long term effects (ex: climate change) o Thus, it is difficult to strictly define morality; it is an aspect of human interaction, but it has multiple dimensions that influence its appearance • If morality is the way a group does something, then is it moral for a gang to kill people, because that’s ‘moral’ in that group? o This is a problem of the socialization theory of morality • Are Kohlberg and Piaget against the socialization theory? o Yes, because they do no think that the idea of morality being taught by parents from a culture is incomplete o However, they both think social interaction is important o Kohlberg: you argue, experience different perspectives. That’s important for reasoning o Piaget: two kinds of social interaction are important; constraint or cooperation • Is morality just a mixture of innate vs. social? o Well, yes and no. Because there are some biological characteristics that predispose certain behaviours are propensities to act in certain situations, thus influencing how a person will develop ‘morality’ Moral Reasoning vs. Intuition: • Kohlberg was big on reasoning; morality as figuring things out o Plato and Kant shared this view • Since Kohlberg’s ideas, there has been a reaction against it, saying that emotions play a more important role o David Hume: reason comes after passion Social Intuitionist Model: • Haidt: moral judgements are rooted in evolved intuitive reactions (2) o You feel something, and immediately feel that it’s right or wrong. o Contrasted with reasoning, which is slow and effortful (which is what Kohlberg had said) • “claim that moral decisions are typically the result of intuitions based on evolved emotional reactions that are justified after the fact” (2) o People are really like lawyers using moral reasoning to justify decisions already made based on evolved emotional reactions (2) o Intuition is evolved processes that are rapid, effortless, and automatic Psyc354 – March. 30/17 2 o Ex: in the case of incest, research participants were quick to disapprove of a relationship between brother and sister, but had difficulty justifying their disapproval (2) • Quick intuitive decision THEN reasoning o Reasoning is secondary to intuitions, and is used to justify the intuitive judgement • “intuition is a cognitive process, but it is faster than the slow and effortful process of reasoning” (2) o Moral reasoning, according to Haidt, is rarely the cause of moral judgements; instead, the decision is based on a gut response and the reasoning is used to justify the decision to the self and others ▪ Cause of moral judgement is quick. Then we reason, a justification for our quick, intuitive judgement ▪ Intuitions can be shaped by culture ▪ Moral reasoning (the justification process) can sometimes correct the affect-laden intuitions (to correct the quick judgment they made) • Contextual factors may influence the extent of prosocial behaviours, and some social factors can also influence moral reasoning (3) o Ex: people use lower Kohlberg-stage reasoning in business contexts, and to justify a previously made selfish choice (that Haidt argues is ‘intuition) o Thus, context is important; if we are with friends, we will likely have a different intuitive response and different justification than if we were in a business setting • Criticisms to the Social Intuitionist Model o It is a ‘deterministic’ theory, because it focuses on intuitions rather than active thinking ▪ Thus, it opens up to criticisms about how it changes, or what makes something moral to begin with o Turiel (2006) argues that Haidt’s theory is paradox: ▪ In the social intuitionist model, arguments tend to be used to justify self- interests, not to convince readers of a position. Thus, Haidt’s own writings put him in the predicament that he cannot explain his own behaviour (ex: why incest is so bad and why we ‘know’ that it’s immoral) without contradicting himself (3) ▪ There is a select set of examples that Haidt uses that seem to work. Like with incest, it could be evolved; but it’s not universal or purely biological. In some cultures, incestual relationships were not morally condemned (ancient Egypt when ‘gods’ had to marry other ‘gods’) o It is not an evolved response to say that in the 1950’s, white people would have an intuitive response to a black man drinking from a white man’s water fountain. But even then, Turiel argues that Black people and many White people wouldn’t have these ‘intuitive’ responses that it is wrong, because these reactions are not based on gut feelings but rather about rights and fairness ▪ Any gut reaction isn’t developed biologically or biologically evolved, it’s socially learned ▪ Haidt argues that reasoning is involved in only a tiny fraction of all moral decisions; however, even if this is correct, those few deliberate decisions may be crucial in structuring our lives Psyc354 – March. 30/17 3 • What role does injustice have in our moral decisions? • Response to Haidt: o Hume: what role do emotions play in morality? ▪ For Haidt, it’s disgust ▪ Morality is not just cold, calculating reason; it is based on caring o Some moral decisions have no quick intuitive answers ▪ Ex: Heinz scenario by Kohlberg; there’s no easy choice that is an automatic response, really depending on how one reasons ▪ Haidt says that reasoning only plays a tiny fraction of all moral decision • However, these moral decisions are very important in structuring our lives and identities • What is Haidt trying to explain? o If he’s just explaining everyday actions, sure, this is feasible o But if we’re trying to understand morality as a big part of our life, such on the grander scale, then it is incomplete. ▪ Ex: Global warming; there’s no quick intuitive reaction that is easily made, there is reasoning behind our actions; requires justification ▪ Here, Haidt’s ideas seem incomplete Emotions, Empathy, and Morality: • For process-relational, you can’t just reason into moral reasoning. Developmentally, it begins from caring about each other • Adam Smith: empathy = understanding others’ feelings and experiences, which is an essential aspect for understanding morality • Piaget: o Emotions have a different role compared to Haidt o Biology sets up the opportunities to learn and be socialized; the biological predisposition of the baby sets them up for experiences ▪ Very indirect. Biology sets up for certain affective relationships o Same thing goes for emotions for Piaget; our biology makes us dependant on social interactions, and our emotions are learned from these biologically dependant experiences in interaction. o Morality develops in the relationship with parents through attachment in very simple ways; same with emotions ▪ Ex: every time the baby cries and is contingently responded to makes the baby feel well and good. That experience is the foundation for emotional relationships (affectionate relationships such as attachment) ▪ Ex: it is more fun to play with another child when you’re a kid, even if you have to share a toy. It’s not that we’re born to play with others, but we are learned to interact and enjoy those experiences. Even if that means sharing a toy with that person. Enjoyment! Positive feelings! ▪ Positive feelings in this case set us up for moral development o Biological predisposition -> certain experiences will be reacted to in certain ways by the infant -> affective relationships are constructed -> these relationships are the foundation for later relationships and interaction -> morality is born through these relationships Psyc354 – March. 30/17 4 Morality and Neuroscience: • It is clear that the human brain is required for morality, so there must be some neurological understanding to be made • Haidt: Morality is automatic, unconscious, affect-laden intuitions; shaped by evolution o Therefore, is it neurological? • Moll et al., 2005: Morality is considered as the set of customs and values that are embraced by a cultural group to guide social conduct o There are sets of customs in a gang like the Cripps, and their actions are guided by these customs; is this morality? They kill people. This is conformity, not morality. Therefore, this idea isn’t complete • Localization o Are there particular areas of the brain devoted to thinking about
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