PerspectiveBehavior

Morality beyond the lab

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Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1242
DOI: 10.1126/science.1259500

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Summary

Morality may be of the highest importance to us, as Einstein put it. But how often do we actually experience morality in our day-to-day lives, and what forms does this experience take? The science of morality has flourished in recent years as methods from social psychology, behavioral economics, neuroscience, experimental philosophy, and cultural anthropology have been applied to the study of moral thought and behavior (1). So far, most of this work has used artificial stimuli, such as hypothetical dilemmas about runaway trolleys or sex with a dead chicken, in artificial environments such as laboratories or medical imaging scanners. On page 1340 of this issue, Hofmann et al. (2) move morality science out of the lab and to the street, office, kitchen, bar, or wherever people happen to be when their cell phone rings.