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The Groupish Gene: Hive psychology and the Origins of Morality and Religion

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Published on May 8, 2012

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by Green College. There is a near universal interest in morality that has sparked thought-provoking inquiry for thousands of years. Much of that inquiry proceeded without the benefit of modern cognitive science, but that is now changing. And the change promises to shed new light on morality, particularly its practices, development, and the psychology behind ethical thought. In this series we bring together speakers from a vast array of disciples--from philosophy and law to biology and psychology--to discuss cutting edge research in the cognitive science of morality. Dr. Haidt is a Professor in the Social Psychology area of the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He studys morality and emotion, and how they vary across cultures. He is also active in positive psychology (the scientific study of human flourishing) and study positive emotions such as moral elevation, admiration, and awe. Dr. Haidt's research these days focuses on the moral foundations of politics, and on ways to transcend the "culture wars" by using recent discoveries in moral psychology to foster more civil forms of politics. Morality, by its very nature, makes it hard to study morality. It binds people together into teams that seek victory, not truth. It closes hearts and minds to opponents even as it makes cooperation and decency possible within groups.

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