Neuroscience of Ethics: The State of Art and the Promises for the Future


  • Cinara Nahra



It is widely known that neuroscience research can lead humankind to understand and combat many illnesses or conditions that cause untold suffering around the world such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression or stress and can also lead us to achieve considerable improvements in memory, learning abilities, executive functions, moods and in many others areas related to cognition and emotion. In this article I will be focusing specifically on the research related to the neuroscience of ethics. The neuroscience of ethics is an area of neuroethics that is concerned with the understanding of the brains mechanism that are involved in moral cognition and in our ethical (or anti-ethical) decisions, and I propose here to expand this concept a little further, defining neuroscience of ethics as the field concerned to the understanding of the brain mechanisms of all main behaviours related to ethics and morality. In this article I identify a set of neuroscience studies that have been published in the last 10 years and that are relevant for ethics, shedding light on behaviours such as altruism, generosity, selfconfidence, trust , altruistic punishment, violence, lying and prejudice, all of them connected somehow to morality. I then discuss how the understanding of each one of these behaviours can benefit society and how we can use this research to help humankind to improve moral standards and promote general happiness.