Navigation Links
Scientists Tweak Subjects' Brains to Alter Their Moral Choices

Experiment helps show how and where these decisions are made

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Changing someone's moral response to a situation could be as easy as manipulating a piece of their brain, a new study finds.

Previous research has shown that a brain region called the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), located at the brain's surface above and behind the right ear, is highly active when someone thinks about another person's intentions, thoughts and beliefs.

In this new study, neuroscientists led by Rebecca Saxe of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology disrupted activity in volunteers' right TPJ by inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp.

This impaired the participants' ability to make moral judgments that require an understanding of other people's intentions. For example, they were more likely to judge someone's failed attempt to harm another as morally permissible.

Because transcranial magnetic stimulation interferes with the ability to interpret others' intentions, a person must rely more on the outcome of a situation to make a moral judgment, the researchers said.

The study, published in the March 29-April 2 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers "striking evidence" that the right TPJ plays a critical role in making judgments, said lead author Liane Young, a postdoctoral associate in MIT's department of brain and cognitive sciences.

"You think of morality as being a really high-level behavior. To be able to apply (a magnetic field) to a specific brain region and change people's moral judgments is really astonishing," she said in an MIT news release.

The study comes on the heels of similar MIT-based research published last week in Neuron. In that study, Young and colleagues pinpointed the brain's ventromedial cortex as a center for moral decision-making, after studying nine patients with damage to that region.

More information

There's more on how the brain works from Harvard University.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: MIT, news release, March 29, 2010

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists in hot pursuit of first new drug for global killer in 50 years
2. Top Scientists Explore the Origin of Life in Annual Lasker Lecture at Scripps Research Institute Florida Campus
3. Anti-obesity drugs unlikely to provide lasting benefit according to scientists
4. University of Michigan scientists identify chemical in bananas as potent inhibitor of HIV infection
5. Scientists Find Stem Cells in Hair That Can Become Skin
6. MRC scientists announce advance in understanding bodys natural defenses
7. Scientists identify microRNA as possible cause of chemotherapy resistance
8. Scientists Find Key to Hormone-Resistant Prostate Tumors
9. University of Michigan scientists discover bone marrow can harbor HIV-infected cells
10. MSU scientists develop more effective method of predicting lead-poisoning risk
11. Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor ... that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in the Holy ... and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed it off ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The ... identity. “America On The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. ... great-grandchildren. As a WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The company has developed a suite of ... authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, every formula has been developed by ... , These products are also: Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Soy Free, Non-Dairy*, Preservative ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Information about the ... to develop to enable prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy in ... in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as a ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Chapel, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... is holding a treadmill relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the ... donating $300 or more. , Teams will work together to keep their treadmills ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... , Sept. 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion ... notable awards. Ranked as number one in the South Florida ... time in Inc. 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy ... Armando Bardisa will soon be honored by SFBJ ... Set to receive his award in ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... 22, 2017  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort ... Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ... medical device industry is in an odd place.  The ... 2.3% excise tax on medical device sales passed along ... covered patients, increased visits and hospital customers with the ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... Sept. 18, 2017 EpiVax, Inc. ... bioinformatics and immune engineering, today announced a ... A (H7N9) vaccine. ... seasonal influenza and presents a challenge for ... exposure to be effective. Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: