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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Oct;6(10):799-809.

Opinion: the neural basis of human moral cognition.

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The Cognitive Neuroscience Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Building 10; Room 5C205; MSC 1440, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1440, USA.


Moral cognitive neuroscience is an emerging field of research that focuses on the neural basis of uniquely human forms of social cognition and behaviour. Recent functional imaging and clinical evidence indicates that a remarkably consistent network of brain regions is involved in moral cognition. These findings are fostering new interpretations of social behavioural impairments in patients with brain dysfunction, and require new approaches to enable us to understand the complex links between individuals and society. Here, we propose a cognitive neuroscience view of how cultural and context-dependent knowledge, semantic social knowledge and motivational states can be integrated to explain complex aspects of human moral cognition.

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