Moral psychology is a field of study at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. It  covers areas such as reasoning, moral development, moral motivation, and the evolutionary origins of morality.

Effective altruists have taken a special interest in several topics moral psychology, including the psychology of effective giving;[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] the psychology of existential risk;[8] the psychology of population ethics;[9]  the psychology of the future;[10] the psychology of speciesism;[11][12][13] the psychology of utilitarianism;[14][15] the link between giving and happiness;[16][17] the personality traits of effective altruists;[18] and the psychology of altruistic motivation.[19]

Further reading

Greenberg, Spencer (2021) Episode 046: EA efficacy and community norms with Stefan Schubert, Clearer Thinking, May 29.

cognitive bias | effective altruism messaging | effective giving | existential risk | population ethics | psychology | rationality | scope neglect | speciesism | temporal discounting | utilitarianism

  1. ^

    Karlan, Dean, John A. List & Eldar Shafir (2011) Small matches and charitable giving: evidence from a natural field experiment, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 95, pp. 344–350.

  2. ^

    Caviola, Lucius et al. (2014) The evaluability bias in charitable giving: saving administration costs or saving lives?, Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 9, pp. 303–315.

  3. ^

    Caviola, Lucius, Stefan Schubert & Jason Nemirow (2020) The many obstacles to effective giving, Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 15, pp. 159–172.

  4. ^

    Burum, Bethany, Martin A. Nowak & Moshe Hoffman (2020) An evolutionary explanation for ineffective altruism, Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 4, pp. 1245–1257.

  5. ^

    Caviola, Lucius, Stefan Schubert & Joshua D. Greene (2021) The psychology of (in)effective altruism, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, forthcoming.

  6. ^

    Schubert, Stefan (2018) Why aren’t people donating more effectively?, Effective Altruism Global, June 8.

  7. ^

    Berman, Jonathan Z. et al. (2018) Impediments to effective altruism: The role of subjective preferences in charitable giving, Psychological Science, vol. 29, pp. 834–844.

  8. ^

    Schubert, Stefan, Lucius Caviola & Nadira S. Faber (2019) The psychology of existential risk: moral judgments about human extinction, Scientific Reports, vol. 9, pp. 1–8.

  9. ^

    Caviola, Lucius et al. (2022) Population ethical intuitions, Cognition, vol. 218.

  10. ^

    Vallinder, Aron (2019) Psychology of the future: Bibliography, unpublished.

  11. ^

    Caviola, Lucius (2019) How We Value Animals: The Psychology of Speciesism, PhD thesis, University of Oxford.

  12. ^

    Caviola, Lucius, Jim A. C. Everett & Nadira S. Faber (2019) The moral standing of animals: towards a psychology of speciesism, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 116, pp. 1011–1029.

  13. ^

    Caviola, Lucius & Valerio Capraro (2020) Liking but devaluing animals: emotional and deliberative paths to speciesism, Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 11.

  14. ^

    Kahane, Guy et al. (2018) Beyond sacrificial harm: a two-dimensional model of utilitarian psychology, Psychological Review, vol. 125, pp. 131–164.

  15. ^

    Everett, Jim A. C. & Guy Kahane (2020) Switching tracks? Towards a multidimensional model of utilitarian psychology, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 24, pp. 124–134.

  16. ^

    MacAskill, William, Andreas Mogensen & Toby Ord (2018) Giving isn’t demanding, in Paul Woodruff (ed.) The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers’ Perspectives on Philanthropy, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 178–203.

  17. ^

    Dalton, Max (2020) Some extremely rough research on giving and happiness, Effective Altruism Forum, September 9.

  18. ^

    E., Elizabeth (2020) Correlations between cause prioritization and the big five personality traits, Effective Altruism Forum, September 24.

  19. ^

    Law, Kyle Fiore, Dylan Campbell & Brendan Gaesser (2021) Biased benevolence: The perceived morality of effective altruism across social distance, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 53.

  20. ^

    Desvousges, William et al. (2010) Measuring Nonuse Damages Using Contingent Valuation: An Experimental Evaluation of Accuracy, 2nd ed., Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Research Triangle Institute.