Understanding the Diversity and Fluidity of Human Morality Through Evolutionary Psychology

Nan Zhu, Hui Jing Lu, Lei Chang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Evolutionary psychology promotes a functional conceptualization of human morality. A key insight from evolutionary studies on morality is that natural selection should favor both diversity and fluidity in morality. Moral diversity is evidenced by moral psychological research on within- and cross-society variations in the endorsement of moral concerns. Moral fluidity is exhibited in the conditional expression of moral hypocrisy, situational effects on intuitive versus rational moral processing, and environmental effects on the degree of prosociality. From this perspective, empirical methods and evolutionary models can be combined in future research to better explicate how morality develops and manifests in various environments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolutionary Behavioral Sciences
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2020


  • Behavioral plasticity
  • Environmental conditions
  • Moral diversity
  • Moral psychology
  • Prosociality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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