Epstein, R., Tang, L., Walimbe, S., & Zankich, V. R. (2023, April). A quantification of morality: Preliminary findings from the Moral Standards Project. Paper presented at the 103rd annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Riverside, CA. 


Begun in 2011, this project has two main purposes: first, to document the moral standards of a variety of religions, organizations, and thought leaders, and second, to give people around the world an opportunity to test their own morals against these various standards.

To date, more than 100 distinguished moral leaders have contributed standards to our growing database, among them: reverends, priests, chaplains, imams, rabbis, pastors, and Buddhist monks; professors of morals and ethics at Princeton University, the Harvard Divinity School, Tufts University, Boston College, Rutgers University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Azusa Pacific University, the University of San Diego, the Catholic Theological Union, and other educational institutions; the president of the American Humanist Association, the archbishop of San Francisco, and many others.

Over time, an accumulation of information of this sort - standards set by hundreds of moral leaders, along with survey data obtained from hundreds of thousands of people around the world - will allow many interesting research questions to be addressed. For example, to what extent are people's morals consistent with the moral standards of the religion or group with which they affiliate? And to what extent do moral standards differ from one expert source to another, both within a religion and between religions? Where discrepancies exist, how can we account for them?  To what extent do experts and religious leaders consider morals to depend on circumstances rather than absolute? To what extent can we track and perhaps shed light on how both morals and moral standards change over time?

To test your morals against those of our growing database of moral standards, visit

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