A (New and Improved) Framework for the Psychology of Norms


Stephen Stich

Rutgers University



In ďA Framework for the Psychology of Norms,Ē Chandra Sripada and I offered a theory about the psychological mechanisms that underlie the acquisition and utilization of norms.Since that paper was completed, there has been an enormous amount of empirical and theoretical work on norms and moral psychology.My goal, in this talk, is to explore the ways in which the model that Sripada and I developed can be extended or modified to take account of some of this recent research.


The talk will have three parts.The first, and shortest, will clarify the sort of model I want to build and the methodology Iíll be using.In the second, Iíll give a brief overview of the model developed in the Sripada & Stich paper and the evidence for that model.In the third, my focus will be on new research.Among the topics Iíll consider are the role of emotion in moral cognition, the role of explicit reasoning in the development of new norms, and the innate constraints on the sorts of norms that humans can acquire. ††