Research on Moral Intelligence components

Short description

Moral Intelligence is defined as the capability to process moral information and to manage self-regulation in any way that desirable moral ends can be attained. This understanding of moral intelligence has been developed by Tanner & Christen (2014); current research focuses on the competence of moral sensitivity and on values that may be elements of the moral compass.

Collaborating institutes

  • Prof. Carmen Tanner; Zeppelin University (Leadership Excellence Institute) and University of Zurich (Institute of Banking and Finance)
  • Prof Darcia Narvaez; University of Notre Dame (Psychology Department)

Involved NET group researchers

Christian Ineichen, Johannes Katsarov, David Schmocker


Currently, this research is funded by the Swiss National Science foundation project “Moral Sensitivity: Investigating Implications, Justifications, and Means of Improvements” (M. Christen is main applicant). Past funding has been provided by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (“Moral Intelligence for praxis: developing a tool for moral sensibility”; M. Christen was main applicant, with C. Tanner) and the Cogito Foundation (“Developing a measure of coherence of value systems”, M. Christen was main applicant, with T. Ott).


  • Christen M (2018): Comparing cultural differences with domain-specific differences of appreciating and understanding values. Journal of Moral Education, in press
    Katsarov J, Christen M (2018): Promoting the Moral Sensitivity of Police and Military Personnel. In: Olsen OK, Waaler G (eds.): NECESSE 3(1): 114-120 [Special Issue on Operational Morals, Royal Norwegian Naval Academy]
    Ineichen C, Christen M, Tanner C (2017): Measuring Moral Sensitivity in Medicine. BMC Medical Ethics 18(1):5
  • Christen M, Katsarov J (2016): Moral Sensitivity as a Precondition of Moral Distress. AJOB Neuroscience 16(12): 19-21
  • Christen M, Ineichen C, Tanner C (2016): „Moralische Intelligenz“ in der klinischen Praxis. Praxis – Schweizerische Rundschau für Medizin 105(21): 1261-1266
  • Christen M, Narvaez D, Tanner C, Ott T (2016): Mapping Values: Using Thesauruses to Reveal Semantic Structures of Cultural Moral Differences. Cognitive Systems Research 40: 59-74
  • Christen M, Ineichen C, Tanner C (2014): How moral are the principles of biomedical ethics? BMC Medical Ethics 15: 47
  • Tanner C, Christen M (2014): Moral Intelligence – A Framework for Understanding Moral Competences. In: Christen M, Fischer J, Huppenbauer M, Tanner C, van Schaik C (eds.): Empirically Informed Ethics. Morality between Facts and Norms. Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy. Berlin: Springer, 119-136
  • Christen M, Ott T (2013): Quantified coherence of moral beliefs as a predictive factor for moral agency. In: Musschenga B et al.: What makes us moral? Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy. Berlin: Springer, 73-96