"In dealing with conflict, two broadly different approaches to modeling the values that drive decisions and choice of behavior have emerged: a consequentialist approach based on instrumental or material values, versus a deontological approach based on moral or sacred values. Sacred values are different from secular values in that they are often associated with violations of the cost-benefit logic of rational choice models... I argue that understanding sacred values and the processes by which they emerge are vital for understanding and modeling decision-making in cultural contexts."He noted that sacred values are derived from one's cultural upbringing, and are reflected in popular stories, mythologies, scriptures, and the way history is interpreted and told. They are defended on the basis of faith and emotion, not reason. Our cultural background, through the stories we hear and read growing up, significantly impacts how we make moral decisions. Having lived all my life in cross-cultural settings (for many years as a south Indian in north India, and now as an Indian in America married to someone born in China), I found this quite fascinating.
"Our results suggest that a core differentiating factor in moral reasoning between cultures may be familiarity with different collections of cultural narratives. Even if the foundations and the logic of morality were universally present, the different cultural stories would cause differences in the judgment of morality between cultures. We believe some well known findings on moral reasoning might be explained by formal examination of moral narratives present within and across cultures."