The genetics of morality and prosociality

Salomon Israel*, Liat Hasenfratz, Ariel Knafo-Noam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Genetically informed research of phenotypes related to morality has proliferated rapidly in the last few years, sparking paradigm shifts from theories based solely on socialization toward ones integrating biological influences. Here, we review recent genetic research in the area of morality that has received the most attention in genetic studies: prosociality. -. positive emotions, attitudes, and behaviors directed toward others. Individual differences in prosociality emerge early in life, increase in heritability as children develop, and are related to variation in genes regulating neurotransmitter systems central to social affect, cognition, and behavior. The majority of molecular genetic studies have been candidate-based, however genome-wide studies are emerging, with the potential to elucidate novel biological pathways associated with individual differences in morality.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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