Toward an Integrated Neuroscience of Morality: The Contribution of Neuroeconomics to Moral Cognition


should be sent to Alan G. Sanfey, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, 1503 E University Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85721. E-mail:


Interest in the neural processes underlying decision making has led to a flurry of recent research in the fields of both moral psychology and neuroeconomics. In this paper, we first review some important findings from both disciplines, and then argue that the two fields can mutually benefit each other. A more explicit recognition of the role of values and norms will likely lead to more accurate models of decision making for neuroeconomists, whereas the tasks, insights into neural mechanisms, and mathematical modeling common in neuroeconomic research offer moral psychologists the opportunity to expand their field and move beyond methodological limitations that may have hindered the field’s progress to this point. We conclude by highlighting an exciting group of recent studies that illustrate the potential of research that embraces the integrated moral/neuroeconomic approach that we suggest here.