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The Psychology of Morality: A Review and Analysis of Empirical Studies Published From 1940 Through 2017
Personality and Social Psychology Review  (IF18.464),  Pub Date : 2019-01-18, DOI: 10.1177/1088868318811759
Naomi Ellemers, Jojanneke van der Toorn, Yavor Paunov, Thed van Leeuwen

This review aims to examine the “psychology of morality” by considering the research questions and empirical approaches of 1,278 empirical studies published from 1940 through 2017. We subjected these studies to expert content analysis and standardized bibliometric analysis to characterize relevant trends in this body of research. We first identify key features that characterize theoretical approaches to human morality, extract five distinct classes of research questions from the studies conducted, and visualize how these aim to address the psychological antecedents and implications of moral behavior. We then compare this theoretical analysis with the empirical approaches and research paradigms that are typically used to address questions within each of these themes. We identify emerging trends and seminal publications, specify conclusions that can be drawn from studies conducted within each research theme, and outline areas in need of further investigation.