Humans are universally concerned with good and evil, although one person's "evil" can be another person's "good." How do individuals arrive at decisions about what is right and what is wrong? And how are these decisions influenced by psychological, social, and cultural forces? Such questions form the foundation of the field of moral psychology.

In trying to understand moral behavior, researchers historically adopted a cognitive-rationalistic approach that emphasized reasoning and reflection. However, a new generation of investigators has become intrigued by the role of emotional, unconscious, and intra- and interpersonal processes. Their explorations are presented in this third addition to the Herzliya Series on Personality and Social Psychology.

The contributors to this volume begin by presenting basic issues and controversies in the study of morality; subsequent chapters explore the psychological processes involved, such as the cognitive mechanisms and motives underlying immoral behavior and moral hypocrisy. Later chapters discuss personality, developmental, and clinical aspects of morality as well as societal aspects of good and evil, including the implications of moral thinking for large-scale violence and genocide. The wide-ranging findings and discussions presented in this volume make this work a provocative and engaging resource for social psychologists and other scholars concerned with moral judgments and both moral and immoral behavior.

Table of Contents



Mario Mikulincer and Phillip R. Shaver

I. Basic Issues and Controversies

  1. Sacred Values and Evil Adversaries: A Moral Foundations Approach
    Jesse Graham and Jonathan Haidt
  2. The Philosopher in the Theater
    Fiery Cushman and Joshua Greene
  3. Deontological Dissonance and the Consequentialist Crutch
    Peter H. Ditto and Brittany Liu
  4. Moral Nativism and Moral Psychology
    Paul Bloom
  5. Bringing Character Back: How the Motivation to Evaluate Character Influences Judgments of Moral Blame
    David A. Pizarro and David Tannenbaum
  6. Morality Takes Two: Dyadic Morality and Mind Perception
    Kurt Gray and Daniel M. Wegner

II. Motivational and Cognitive Processes

  1. Conscience: The Dos and Don'ts of Moral Regulation
    Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
  2. Honest Rationales for Dishonest Behavior
    Shahar Ayal and Francesca Gino
  3. Moral Hypocrisy, Moral Inconsistency, and the Struggle for Moral Integrity
    Benoît Monin and Anna Merritt
  4. Morality and Psychological Distance: A Construal Level Theory Perspective
    Tal Eyal and Nira Liberman
  5. Humanness, Dehumanization, and Moral Psychology
    Nick Haslam, Brock Bastian, Simon Laham, and Stephen Loughnan
  6. Morality Across Cultures: A Value Perspective
    Noga Sverdlik, Sonia Roccas, and Lilach Sagiv

III. Developmental, Personality, and Clinical Aspects

  1. Autonomous Moral Motivation: Consequences, Socializing Antecedents, and the Unique Role of Integrated Moral Principles
    Avi Assor
  2. An Attachment Perspective on Morality: Strengthening Authentic Forms of Moral Decision-Making
    Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer
  3. Paradigm Assumptions About Moral Behavior: An Empirical Battle Royal
    Lawrence J. Walker, Jeremy A. Frimer, and William L. Dunlop
  4. When Moral Concerns Become a Psychological Disorder: The Case of Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder
    Guy Doron, Dar Sar-El, Mario Mikulincer, and Mike Kyrios
  5. Moral Dimensions of Trauma Therapies
    Laurie Anne Pearlman

IV. Good and Evil: Morality, Conflict, and Violence

  1. Killing With a Clean Conscience: Existential Angst and the Paradox of Morality
    Gilad Hirschberger and Tom Pyszczynski
  2. Moral Convictions and Moral Courage: Common Denominators of Good and Evil
    Linda J. Skitka
  3. Human Evil: The Myth of Pure Evil and the True Causes of Violence
    Roy F. Baumeister
  4. Psychology and Morality in Genocide and Violent Conflict: Perpetrators, Passive Bystanders, Rescuers
    Ervin Staub

V. Synthesis

  1. Good and Evil, Past and Future, Laboratory and World
    Roy F. Baumeister and Jesse Graham


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Mario Mikulincer, PhD, is professor of psychology and dean of the New School of Psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. He has published five books — Human Helplessness: A Coping Perspective; Dynamics of Romantic Love: Attachment, Caregiving, and Sex; Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change; Human Aggression and Violence: Causes, Manifestations, and Consequences; and Prosocial Motives, Emotions, and Behavior: The Better Angels of our Nature — and over 280 scholarly journal articles and book chapters.

Dr. Mikulincer's main research interests are attachment theory, terror management theory, personality processes in interpersonal relationships, coping with stress and trauma, grief-related processes, and prosocial motives and behavior.

He is a member of the editorial boards of several scientific journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Inquiry, and Personality and Social Psychology Review, and he has served as associate editor of two journals, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Personal Relationships. Recently, he was elected to serve as chief editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

He is a fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Association for Psychological Sciences. He received the EMET Prize in Social Science for his contributions to psychology and the Berscheid–Hatfield Award for Distinguished Mid-Career Achievement from the International Association for Relationship Research.

Phillip R. Shaver, PhD, a social and personality psychologist, is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. Before moving there, he served on the faculties of Columbia University, New York University, University of Denver, and State University of New York at Buffalo.

He has coauthored and coedited numerous books, including In Search of Intimacy; Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes; Measures of Political Attitudes; Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, and Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change; Human Aggression and Violence: Causes, Manifestations, and Consequences; and Prosocial Motives, Emotions, and Behavior: The Better Angels of our Nature, and he has published over 200 scholarly journal articles and book chapters.

Dr. Shaver's research focuses on attachment, human motivation and emotion, close relationships, personality development, and the effects of meditation on behavior and the brain.

He is a member of the editorial boards of Attachment and Human Development, Personal Relationships, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Emotion, and has served on grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

He has been executive officer of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and is a fellow of both APA and the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Shaver received a Distinguished Career Award from the International Association for Relationship Research and has served as president of that organization.

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