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Morality, intentionality and intergroup attitudes

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Chapter Summary

Morality is at the core of what it means to be social. Moral judgments require the recognition of intentionality, that is, an attribution of the target’s intentions towards another. Most research on the origins of morality has focused on intragroup morality, which involves applying morality to individuals in one’s own group. Yet, increasingly, there has been new evidence that beginning early in development, children are able to apply moral concepts to members of an outgroup as well, and that this ability appears to be complex. The challenges associated with applying moral judgments to members of outgroups includes understanding group dynamics, the intentions of others who are different from the self, and having the capacity to challenge stereotypic expectations of others who are different from the ingroup. Research with children provides a window into the complexities of moral judgment and raises new questions, which are ripe for investigations into the evolutionary basis of morality.



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