Magnets and Morality

MIT has recently conducted a study, which seems to indicate a person’s moral compass can be swayed by applying a magnetic field to the right temporo-parietal junction, or the RTPJ. 

Without the magnets, a high percentage of people make their moral judgements based upon another’s actions and not on a scenario’s outcome.  With the magnets, however, moral judgements were based almost entirely upon a scenario’s outcome, regardless of a person’s intentions. 

Morally dubious acts with a “happy” ending were often deemed acceptable.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a brain expert at University College London, said the findings were insightful.

“The study suggests that this region – the RTPJ – is necessary for moral reasoning.

“What is interesting is that this is a region that is very late developing – into adolescence and beyond right into the 20s.

“The next step would be to look at how or whether moral development changes through childhood into adulthood.”

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