Behavioral Ethics

Behavioral ethics is the scientific study of how and why people make the moral choices and judgments that they do. Whereas philosophical ethical theories help guide people to the “right” answer when they face moral challenges, behavioral ethics is descriptive rather than normative. Based on research from social psychology, cognitive science, experimental philosophy, neuroscience, and other academic disciplines, behavioral ethics offers an important supplement to philosophically based approaches to learning and teaching ethics.

In the 1980s, the assumption that people are rational actors who gather and process all relevant information in making decisions that maximize their preferences came to dominate economic and financial thinking in academia. However, research conducted by Amos Tversky, Daniel Kahneman, Richard Thaler, and many others proved decisively that human decision making is ...

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