Mathematical foundations of moral preferences

Capraro, Valerio ORCID logoORCID: and Perc, Matjaž ORCID logoORCID: (2021) Mathematical foundations of moral preferences. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 18 (175) , 20200880. pp. 1-13. ISSN 1742-5689 [Article] (doi:10.1098/rsif.2020.0880)

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One-shot anonymous unselfishness in economic games is commonly explained by social preferences, which assume that people care about the monetary payoffs of others. However, during the last ten years, research has shown that different types of unselfish behaviour, including cooperation, altruism, truth-telling, altruistic punishment, and trustworthiness are in fact better explained by preferences for following one’s own personal norms – internal standards about what is right or wrong in a given situation. Beyond better organ- ising various forms of unselfish behaviour, this moral preference hypothesis has recently also been used to increase charitable donations, simply by means of interventions that make the morality of an action salient. Here we review experimental and theoretical work dedicated to this rapidly growing field of research, and in doing so we outline mathematical foundations for moral preferences that can be used in future models to better understand selfless human actions and to adjust policies accordingly. These foundations can also be used by artificial intelligence to better navigate the complex landscape of human morality.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Biotechnology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biomaterials, Biomedical Engineering
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Economics
Item ID: 31846
Notes on copyright: © 2021 The Author(s)
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by the Royal Society in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface, the final published version is available at: The accepted manuscript is made available in this repository as permitted by the publisher.
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Depositing User: Valerio Capraro
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2021 10:38
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:00

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