Friday, December 17, 2010

Scientists Disrupt Moral Reasoning With Magnets To The Skull

Scientists Disrupt Moral Reasoning With Magnets To The Skull

Want to make somebody lose his belief that harming somebody else is wrong? All you have to do is hold a special magnet up to his head in the right place.

Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation - in which magnets are used to disrupt neural activity in specific parts of the brain - scientists managed to "turn off" people's moral centers. According to a recent release from PNAS, which published the results of the study:

“Liane Young and colleagues applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to disrupt neural activity in an area of the brain known to process information about beliefs and then asked twenty subjects to rate actions on a scale from one (morally forbidden) to seven (morally permissible). The researchers report that study participants judged actions in which a person believes he or she will cause harm to another person-but fails to do so-were more morally permissible during TMS application to the brain region responsible for processing beliefs, compared to when TMS was not applied, or applied to other brain regions.”

photo and text source

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