Elective course - Psychology of Morality: An experimental approach to the study of Moral behavior

Course content

Is morality innate? Does cleaning your hands influence your moral decision making? Are creative people less or more honest?

During the course, we will discuss research aiming to answer such questions related to morality, typically relying on experimental approaches (like in Behavioral Economics). In particular, students will learn about modern theories of moral behavior, as well as about quantitative lab and field studies on individual and situational factors related to (im)moral behaviors such as altruism, cheating, or cooperativeness. We will focus on a broad range of topics including emotional aspects of moral judgments and decision making, moral development and evolutionary aspects of morality. Additionally, we will discuss about practical implications of morality in the present world, including business organizations.

The purpose of the course is to expand knowledge and put the subject of morality into theoretical and empirical perspective.

Learning outcome

Upon completion of the elective subject module within the Department of Psychology, students are able to:


  • describe and account for relevant concepts and themes within the elective subject
  • describe and account for relevant methodological approaches in relation to the subject matter for the elective subject



  • explain contexts and factors that are relevant in different situations related to the elective subject
  • understand various person and situation factors relevant to moral judgment and decision making
  • analyse methods relevant to the elective subject under supervision



  • Students are able to search for relevant literature on a chosen topic related to morality
  • Students are able to understand scientific literature on the topic in question
  • Students are able to write a literature review on the topic in question
  • Students are able to summarize relevant empirical findings on the topic in question
  • Students are able to develop their own hypothesis in the field of morality research
Not relevant
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Final exam: Free written exam to be handed in at the end of the course. Students are asked to write a (APA-guidelines) review paper on a self-chosen topic that was subject in one of the sessions. The review paper should provide an overview of the current research knowledge.

The exam can only be taken individually.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28