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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2015 Dec;17(4):411-20.

The rise of moral emotions in neuropsychiatry.

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D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Anxiety, Obsessive and Compulsive Spectrum Disorders Program, Institute of Psychiatry of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brain and Mental Health Laboratory, School of Psychological Sciences & Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.
D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Ja-neiro, Brazil.


in English, French, Spanish

Clinical psychopathology has largely ignored the developments in the field of social neuroscience. The so-called moral emotions are a group of affective experiences thought to promote cooperation, group cohesion, and reorganization. In this review, we: (i) briefly describe a provisional taxonomy of a limited set of moral emotions and their neural underpinnings; and (ii) discuss how disgust, guilt, anger/indignation, and shame/embarrassment can be conceptualized as key affective experiences in different neuropsychiatric disorders. Based on a concise review of the literature linking moral emotions, psychopathology, and neuropsychiatry, we have devised a simple and preliminary scheme where we conjecture how specific moral emotions can be implicated in some categories of DSM-5 diagnoses, potentially helping to bridge psychopathology and neurobiologically plausible variables, in line with the Research Domain Criteria initiative. We hope this stimulates new empirical work exploring how moral emotional changes and their underlying neurobiology can help elucidating the neural underpinnings of mental disorders.


affect; descriptive psychopathology; emotion; motivation; psychiatric disorder; sentiment; social cognition; value

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