1932

Abstract

From an evolutionary perspective, morality is a form of cooperation. Cooperation requires individuals either to suppress their own self-interest or to equate it with that of others. We review recent research on the origins of human morality, both phylogenetic (research with apes) and ontogenetic (research with children). For both time frames we propose a two-step sequence: first a second-personal morality in which individuals are sympathetic or fair to particular others, and second an agent-neutral morality in which individuals follow and enforce group-wide social norms. Human morality arose evolutionarily as a set of skills and motives for cooperating with others, and the ontogeny of these skills and motives unfolds in part naturally and in part as a result of sociocultural contexts and interactions.

Keyword(s): altrusimevolutionfairnessjustice

Associated Article

There are media items related to this article:
A Lecture in Psychology: Origins of Human Cooperation and Morality
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143812
2013-01-03
2024-04-16
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143812
Loading
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-psych-113011-143812
Loading

Data & Media loading...

Supplemental Material

  In this video Michael Tomasello shares footage of chimpanzees and of toddlers collaborating, showing that while cooperation exists among other primates, it is much more developed in our societies, even among very young humans. Children have a stronger sense of egalitarianism, and do a better job of suppressing their self-interest when they cooperate on a task. Not only that, they are capable of demonstrating norm-based group-mindedness, another form of collaboration.

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error