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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the section: neuroscience and development, that explores the interactions between 'genetically' programmed neurobiological substrates and 'epigenetic' developmental mechanisms that constitute the biological basis of moral behavior. Patricia Churchland discusses the evolution of human morality as rooted in the neurobiology of sociality. Through a comparative analysis of the role played by oxytocin and vasopressin for mammalian caring behavior and how they operate in the brain in association with cortical structures, she proposes that these neurobiological substrates created the platform for sociality and morality. Based on neuroscience recent findings, Pierfrancesco Ferrari points out the central role of emotions and empathy in understanding the evolution of human morality. Larisa Heiphetz and Liane Young review developmental research on cognitive and social psychology in an attempt to unravel the origin of adults' moral judgment.

Keywords: epigenetic developmental mechanisms; Larisa Heiphetz; Liane Young; mammalian caring behaviour; moral behaviour; neurobiological substrates; Patricia Churchland



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