Revista médica de Chile
versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887
SLACHEVSKY, Andrea; SILVA, Jaime R; PRENAFETA, María Luisa y NOVOA, Fernando. The contribution of neuroscience to the understanding of moral behavior. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2009, vol.137, n.3, pp. 419-425. ISSN 0034-9887. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872009000300015.
The neuro-scientific study of moral actions and judgments is particularly relevant to medicine, especially when assessing behavior disorders secondary to brain diseases. In this paper, moral behavior is reviewed from an evolutionary and neuro-scientific perspective. We discuss the role of emotions in moral decisions, the role of brain development in moral development and the cerebral basis of moral behavior. Empirical evidence shows a relationship between brain and moral development: changes in cerebral architecture are related to changes in moral decision complexity. Moral development takes a long time, achieving its maturity during adulthood. It is suggested that moral cognition depends on cerebral regions and neural networks related to emotional and cognitive processing (i.e. prefrontal and temporal cortex) and that moral judgments are complex affective and cognitive phenomena. This paper concludes with the suggestion that a satisfactory clinical/legal evaluation of a patient requires that the neural basis of moral behavior should be taken into account.
Palabras clave : Ethics; Cognitive science; Morality.