Annotated Bibliography

Works Cited

Anderson, Peter. "Dear Theophilus: Where does Morality Come from?", 2021,

In this article Educator peter Anderson reassures that “God is the source of morality… God is the sole source of the truly good and beautiful”. Within this article Anderson speaks about the Christian God being the sole determiner of the morals that everyone wants to follow however also states that “Our heart stands in rebellion to God’s ways and only through the redemptive work of Christ and by the renewal of Holy Spirit do we stand a chance to embrace God’s way of life”. This means that we, as humans, have a natural type of “evil” that needs to be actively worked against in order to reach an “acceptable” type of morality. This article was written with the purpose of reaching Christians, so those that don’t follow that religion may Not consider this source a type of answer. This article also acknowledges that there are other definition of morality “us to buy into other visions of the good and beautiful”. This ties into the research because it places a limitation on Christian’s perspective of morality, that they must use gods word to shape their definition of morality even though people of “the world” meaning non-Christian’s and mainstream media might say that certain morals are okay to have or not have.

Ellemers, N., et al. "The Psychology of Morality: A Review and Analysis of Empirical Studies Published from 1940 through 2017." Personality and Social Psychology Review, vol. 23, no. 4, 2019, pp. 332-366. MEDLINE,,doi:10.1177/1088868318811759.

In this article multiple Theologists and researchers discuss the different definitions and implications of morality whether it be theoretically, psychologically or socially. They state that there are many different definitions for different situations as this topic has been widely debated and researched over the last 50 years and much more before as well. The authors state that there is a blanket definition for morals; it is that “Moral principles indicate what is a “good”, “virtuous”, “just”, “right”, or “ethical” way for humans to behave.” There are many different factors that influence or founded morals for people, they try to define this by stating three principles that can help shape the understanding. 1. That there are social implications of judgement about right and wrong. 2. People hold their own definition that they try to live up to and their own personal standard determining their moral choices. 3. There are situational realities such as cultural background and experiences that cause guilt, another influencer for morality. The different ideas debated are meant to be interpreted together rather than alone because of the overlap and lack of solid definition. This can connect to my research as a working definition for what morality actually is and some of the origins of it.

Fagan, Chelsea. "Why Rich People Become A**holes.", May 31, 2022,

In this video Researcher and entrepreneur Chelsea Fagan vocalized and connects different studies done that portray individuals with an abundance of wealth as less empathetic and more isolated than those of a lower socioeconomic class. We’ve discussed how our morals affect things like how we treat others and how we see ourselves. Having wealth affects those things. Fagan makes the connection and explains that one of the main differences include not having to form social connections because money can solve certain problems that can replace the “need” for relationships, “They’re not going to worry as much about how they are perceived by others or how they make others feel, they frankly don’t need them”. She’s saying that certain connections aren’t necessary to these individuals like how they would be for “normal” people, for example a person with wealth is more likely to pay $40-60 for an Uber to an airport whilst a person of lower socioeconomic class would have to ask a friend or family member for a ride. Another example mentioned is being able to afford to hire a task rabbit for some kind of home chore instead of asking a neighbor. This isn’t saying that those of a lower class only keep their friends for selfish reasons it's saying that they’re more likely to be kinder and form closer connections and, in general, like people more because there can be more benefit to these relationships. When that benefit is lessened, there’s less incentive to keep that friendship inversely making it more likely for wealthier individuals to not care about losing friends or making new ones. This suggests the theory of a life without consequence which is the basis for lack of empathy. This also explains the stereotype of rich people being mean to service employees like waiters and cashiers, they can afford to not care about what others think of them. There was another observational experiment mentioned that set up strangers of different backgrounds to interact with each other in conversations. The findings were that “upper class participants were much less interested in engaging with a lower-class person than with an upper class counterpart”. The reason why? It was “reported that their values and interests differ too much from those of cross class partners for the interaction to be successful”. This further supports the idea that wealthier individuals are often isolated, when they do have interactions it's often with those of their own class which ratifies the concept that when it comes to morality they’re given a type of reassurance about their lack of empathy being correct. This connects to the research because it can be included within the concept of culture influencing morality, and is a lead into the idea of how people who don’t feel empathy don’t have the same type of factors that influence morality.

fox-McLeodSociopaths are More Capable of Morality than Non-Sociopaths, 2017.

In this forum Reddit users discuss how sociopaths are able to behave like normal people morally. One opinion is that because normal people experience empathy they are “acting out of self interest” because they don’t want to feel guilty. Since sociopaths cannot feel guilt they actively have to chose to do the right thing defining morality as “choosing the moral choice”. Fox-McLeod states “Empathy is not compassion”. This sources opens up the discussion of acting morally with no emotional incentive it ties into the rest of the research because we are able to remove empathy as a factor for moral origins.

In this article Dr.Sears explains the way we mature into our adult morality and how our age makes our morals differ. He begins by confirming “An infant does not have the capacity to moralize, other than having a sense of rightness or wrongness as those feelings apply to himself”, evidently this ties into how our intellectual level of consciousness is a reason for why we have morals and fairness that are more advanced then just instincts. When we hit toddlerhood our sense of collective starts “Toddlers learn that others share their world; others have needs and rights, too”, empathy or at least the idea of it becomes apparent. He mentioned that to toddlers, hitting is wrong because the parent says so or because they will be punished for it, guilt is the driving influencer at this age. At age 7 empathy is still in the process of being instilled, family values offer incentive for morality. By age 10 self awareness is complete and empathy is present but fairness is more important when it comes to conflicts with other children there is still selfishness over self interest. By adolescence children are no longer viewing the parent as their anchor for morality, they rather choose and make their own. Parents are supposed to be guides instead of determiners they no longer hold a strong authority, teens will act on self interest for their morality. Dr sears concludes the following:

“From infancy to adulthood, the developing moral person progresses from self (“It’s right because it feels right to me”) to others (“It’s right because it’s what we do in our family”) to abstract moral reasoning (“It’s right because it is right”).” This source introduces the differences in morality throughout the different ages in our lives, It also supports the concept of how morality and maturity go hand in hand.

Skitka, Linda J. "The Psychology of Moral Conviction." Social and Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 4, no. 4, 2010, pp. 267-281. CrossRef,,doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00254.x.

This paper talks about the outcome of our morals, how they change our behaviors and affect our emotions. Earlier it was mentioned that fairness is a learned behavior apart from our empathy however Skitka explains “when people have a moral stake in outcomes, their subsequent judgments of fairness and decision acceptance are shaped more by whether outcomes are inconsistent or consistent with their moral preferences” this supports the idea that empathy is a more influential factor than fairness is for our decisions and opinions. She also talks about how people don’t want to feel bad and that makes them do things that may not be “fair”. She brings up the topic of the Iraq war and how people have polarizing opinions because of their feelings. She discerns “some people might support or oppose the Iraq War because of deep moral concerns about the oppression of the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein, or because they see a military response in the absence of an attack or explicit provocation as morally suspect”. It’s difficult to come to a full bias because of the different implications of having just one opinion. I’ve heard someone jokingly say “one persons terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” but in this case it's accurate, when both sides are valid and support your personal morals how do you choose just one side?

In this article writer Emily Smith explores the validity of evolution being the origin for human morality. She discusses different experiments done by Tomasello involving the different reactions between chimpanzees and human toddlers when presented with specific situations involving collaboration and sharing. It is widely accepted that there are two components for morality, sympathy and fairness, respectively. She states that these experiments merit that sympathy is evolutionary but fairness is learned. She defines shared intentionality which is “The ability and motivation to engage with others in collaborative activities with joint goals and intentions”. She then mentions that the aforementioned is the basis of morality and then states that “our enhanced ability to cooperate may be the most significant distinction between us and our closest evolutionary relatives”; this means that our learned definition of fairness saves human morality from being solely evolutionary and should not be referred to as much. This article connects to the research because the experiments can be used to talk about the difference between human morals and animalistic instincts and how shared intentionality differs within different ages, cultures etc.

Sterbenz, Christina. "These Charts show how the World Feels about 8 Moral Issues.", August 20, 2014,

Chart provided by the Pew Research center

Journalist at Business Insider Christina Sterbenz elaborates on the results from a survey conducted by Pew Research Center. She talks about the different moral standards in different countries and states “What people find morally acceptable and unacceptable depends on where they live in the world” implying that morality differs within cultures. The survey asks about different “moral issues” which implies that there are universal morals that appear within most cultures. The article shows that Extramarital Affairs is the most unaccepted topic within the 40 countries surveyed and that contraception use is the most acceptable topic with divorce being the 2nd most accepted. They make a connection about how countries with more advanced economies such as Western Europe, Japan and North America are the places that are either the most accepting of the activity or don’t consider the activities moral issues at all; however African and predominately Muslim countries are the ones that find them morally unacceptable. The purpose of this article is to discuss the different levels of morality amongst countries but it serves as confirmation for how cultural differences merit differences in origins of morality. This gives insight into how they differ as well. The information can be used to introduce the aforementioned idea into my research to open up a conversation on how our upbringing defines our moral truths and how wealthier upbringings can also change those truths.