Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 04/25/2010 01:27:24 AM PDT
It's a comic villain's dream. The good guy is strapped down and bombarded by a powerful beam that can alter his sense of morality. It's also reality, according to a recently released report on magnets by the publication Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists from MIT, Harvard University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center got together and scrambled the moral center of some willing subjects, using magnets. No, really. It does sound kind of sinister, but these respected neuroscientists suggest just the opposite. They believe the research has useful applications that may, for example, benefit the courts.
The researchers reported they affected the “moral decision-making process” with magnetic fields. The study discovered the part of the brain that changes people's moral judgments. I don't think this new study will change our legal system soon. It's a big, clunky setup involving huge magnets. It sounds scary to me, and I hesitate to consider all the nefarious applications if it ends up in the wrong hands. That's assuming it hasn't already.
PHOTO: Florida wildlife managers have taped magnets to the heads of crocodiles to try and stop them from returning to residential areas. The temporary headgear is thought to disrupt their ‘homing’ ability because the reptiles are thought to rely on the Earth’s magnetic fields to navigate. Researchers at Mexico’s Crocodile Museum in Chiapas reported they had some success with the method, using it to permanently relocate 20 of the reptiles since 2004.” Photo source