Scientists Discover How to ‘Turn Off’ Brain’s Morality Center

From The Raw Story:

People’s moral judgment can be altered by disrupting part of the brain, a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows.Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) disrupted activity in the right temporo-parietal junction, or TPJ, which is above and behind the right ear and is usually highly active when we think about what we believe the outcome of a particular act will be.

The researchers disrupted the TPJ by inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp and got study participants to read a series of scenarios posing moral conundrums.

In one scenario, a person called Grace and her friend are taking a tour of a chemical plant when Grace stops at the coffee machine.

Grace’s friend asks her to get her a coffee with sugar.

[Read more at The Raw Story]

16 Comments on "Scientists Discover How to ‘Turn Off’ Brain’s Morality Center"

  1. This goes to prove that morality is centered in the brain, and not 'God'. Good stuff!

    • Manny Furious | Mar 30, 2010 at 9:33 am |

      Morality was always a human invention. Placing a “morality” on a “God” was always the result of half-baked human philosophies. If there is a “God”, it is, for a lack of a better word, amoral.

      • THEGODCOMPLEX | Apr 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm |

        I think with lots of people God is just a word to describe the unknown. I think even if you were never around another human you would know a basic right from wrong its like instincts. That's why people say God because where do your instincts come from? …the unknown. Now jumping off subject a lil ever heard of god given rights ” basic human rights” they say god given because they are considered intangible so basic its like instinct all should have them. So where dose instinct come from?

  2. Is that why I have 3 white hairs there? Because I think about things and way almost every action (not everything I say though).

  3. wfzlsster | Mar 30, 2010 at 6:26 am |

    The politicians figured this out long ago.

  4. If there is such a moral zone in the brain, what was done to the testers moral centers for them to find it acceptable to send a magnetic current into people's brains just to study the effects? Many people would view their tests as grotesque and inhuman, but they don't seem to have a problem with it.

    If morality has a “hard drive” in a particular point in the brain, how do they account for the vast differences in what humans view as moral and immoral?

    • Your second question answers your first (which may have been your intention). As for your second question, brains have language centers, yet people speak thousands of different languages.

      Morality is made of soft tissue, so it's obviously malleable. How else to explain Christians who join the military and go to other countries and bomb women and children?

      • Well yea, the questions were rhetorical.
        Just testing the ol' brain-to-screen response time.

  5. It is also true that compassion can be trained into the mind as well. Perhaps we should focus more on accomplishing that, rather than finding the off switch to something which we use all too infrequently anyways.

    • Hadrian999 | Mar 31, 2010 at 10:53 pm |

      we should strive to lessen the systems of control we are shackled with not
      multiply them.

  6. emperorreagan | Mar 31, 2010 at 2:51 pm |

    If you're an ordained Catholic priest, apparently the seductive glance of a boy below the age of consent (especially if they're pre-pubescent!) automatically shuts down the morality center of your brain.

    And in later years, the mere thought of those wonderful moments spent with a tender, young boy not only shuts down your morality center, but also the center of rational thought.

  7. justagirl | Apr 13, 2010 at 9:33 am |

    maybe grace just needed to get her own damn coffee.

  8. is this how MK Ultra came about than?

  9. is this how MK Ultra came about than?

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