What can sci­ence reveal about our “€œchar­acter”€ -€” that core of good, or evil, that shapes our moral behavior? The answer, according to a new book, is that there may not be much of a core, after all. In “Out of Char­acter,”€ sci­en­tists David DeSteno and Pier­carlo Valdel­solo argue that how we think about char­acter — a con­cep­tion that dates back to at least the ancient Greeks -€” is deeply flawed. Our moral behavior, to a sur­prising degree, is shaped by the con­text in which we find our­selves. Mind Mat­ters editor Gareth Cook spoke recently with DeSteno about the book, and the broader impli­ca­tions of the new science.

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