Past Event

Molly Crockett - Moral Decision-Making: Conscience, Context, and Conformity

March 7, 2019
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM
Jerome L. Greene Science Center, 3227 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 (9th Floor Lecture Hall)

Classical models of antisocial behavior propose that violence arises out of a failure of the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) to “put the brakes” on aggressive impulses originating in subcortical regions such as the amygdala and striatum. A new, alternative model proposes that LPFC does not directly inhibit aggressive impulses, but instead flexibly modulates the value of aggressive acts via corticostriatal circuits. In this talk, the speaker will present behavioral, pharmacological, and neuroimaging experiments supporting the alternative model. The findings suggest moral behavior is linked to a neural devaluation of reward realized by a prefrontal modulation of striatal value representations. This mechanism implies that the moral value of actions is flexibly guided by neural representations of social norms. If norms change, so then do the values that guide actions. Supporting this view, evidence will be presented that changing norms via framing and social influence modulates moral preferences.

Molly Crockett, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Yale University.

This lecture is part of the Columbia University Center for Decision Sciences Cognition and Decision Seminar Series, which brings together scholars from economics, psychology, neuroscience and other fields who are united by an interest in the cognitive mechanisms involved in decision making and related behavior, and the ways in which a better understanding of these mechanisms can lead to more accurate models of human behavior and more effective public policies. Advance registration is required.