Date of Award
Developmental Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology and Interaction
Description or Abstract
Morality is the principles that distinguish right from wrong. Humans maintain a moral self-image: the views, judgements, and actions that reflect a sense of right or wrong (Jordan, Leliveld, & Tenbrunsel, 2015). In order to study the impact of moral attitudes on behavior we must understand why certain moral beliefs persist, the function of morality, and why errors in moral judgement occur. With an evolutionary framework, studying the adaptive significance of morality may provide answers to these questions. Researchers have studied morality in nonhuman animals, the development of moral principles, cultural factors that influence ethical frameworks, how morality functions, and finally the persistence of immoral behavior or other errors in moral judgements. Findings suggest morality serves two functions. Primarily, morality increases direct fitness, how well an organism fits into their environment (measured by number of viable offspring), by reducing harm, which leads to large-scale cooperation in humans.
Digital USD Citation
Apostol, Michael R., "The Adaptive Functions of Morality" (2020). Copley Library Undergraduate Research Awards. 3.