Professor Gilkey holds a joint appointment at Emory University, where he serves on the faculty of the Goizueta Business School as a professor in the practice of organization and management, and the School of Medicine, where he is a professor of psychiatry. He is the recipient of the university's highest teaching honor, the Emory Williams Award. Rick also serves on the faculty of Duke Corporate Education.
Current research is in the area of neuro-imaging, which involves the use of MRI scanning technology to gain images of executives who are involved in strategic thinking, moral reasoning and creative problem solving. This research focuses on understanding how the brain operates in high level cognitive tasks of an executive population, and how to facilitate these types of learning and thinking.
Rick Gilkey's articles have appeared in several leading professional journals, and he has served as an editorial consultant to The New York Times and Fortune Magazine. Rick is co-author of a book on post-merger management entitled "Joining Forces: Creating and Managing Successful Mergers and Acquisitions", (Prentice-Hall), and he is a contributing author to "Organizations on the Couch: Psychoanalytic Approaches to Understanding Organizational Dynamics". He is also editor of "The 21st Century Healthcare Leader", and contributing author to a book on strategic corporate leadership entitled, The "Agile Organization", published by Jossey-Bass. His forthcoming book on "Executive Coaching", co-authored with Randall White, PhD, will be published by Aronson Press.
The neural processing of moral sensitivity to issues of justice and care
The empirical and theoretical consideration of ethical decision making has focused on the process of moral judgment; however, a precondition to judgment is moral sensitivity, the ability to detect and evaluate moral issues [Rest, J. R. (1984). The major components of morality. In W. Kurtines & J. Gewirtz (Eds.), Morality, moral behaviour, and moral development (pp. 24–38). New York, NY: Wiley]. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and contextually standardized, real life moral issues, we demonstrate that sensitivity to moral issues is associated with activation of the polar medial prefrontal cortex, dorsal posterior cingulate cortex, and posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS). These activations suggest that moral sensitivity is related to access to knowledge unique to one's self, supported by autobiographical memory retrieval and social perspective taking. We also assessed whether sensitivity to rule-based or “justice” moral issues versus social situational or “care” moral issues is associated with dissociable neural processing events. Sensitivity to justice issues was associated with greater activation of the left intraparietal sulcus, whereas sensitivity to care issues was associated with greater activation of the ventral posterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and thalamus. These results suggest a role for access to self histories and identities and social perspectives in sensitivity to moral issues, provide neural representations of the subcomponent process of moral sensitivity originally proposed by Rest, and support differing neural information processing for the interpretive recognition of justice and care moral issues.