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MAGNETS CAN MANIPULATE MORALITY

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Posted by abeodbart March 31, 2010 at 9:25 am

“A new study has found magnetic fields can be used to confuse a region in the brain that controls a person’s sense of morality.

Using a powerful magnetic field, scientists are able to scramble the moral centre of the brain, making it more difficult for people to separate innocent intentions from harmful outcomes.

The research, which appears this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could have big implications for not only neuroscientists, but also for judges and juries.

‘It’s one thing to ‘know’ that we’ll find morality in the brain,’ says Dr Liane Young, a scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of the article. ‘It’s another to ‘knock out’ that brain area and change people’s moral judgments.’”

Read more at Discovery News (thanks, Phillis)

COMMENTS
March 31, 2010 at 9:33 am

It weren’t me gov it were the magnets :P


March 31, 2010 at 11:12 am
Peter says:

Hm, I know a few other things that will get rid of someone’s sense of moralty in lots of people. Alcohol, sexuality, emotions .. Only when this stuff has been transferred to another part of itself, then it probably wont screw up, not with magnetic fields either.

Don’t we all, or at least most of us, remind ourselves at times about moralty in ourselves, when we don’t feel it anymore in that moment?

Would be interesting to read a few of those stories to get a better understanding of the system those researchers have been using. To experience it yourself (and see if you still can say .. they can’t do that to me!).

We’re not all the same, therefor the outcome of those type of studies will not go for all people. Makes it even more complex, and at the same time not really.


March 31, 2010 at 11:40 am
Alex Guy says:

Hmm…that is kinda worrying


March 31, 2010 at 2:48 pm
_JonBaxter_ says:

So everyone using iPod headphones is immoral? Would explain why they try to hide the evidence by wearing hoodies too :)


March 31, 2010 at 3:55 pm
roz says:

haha! i keep a very strong magnet on the back of the chair i sit in every day…no wonder i make such bad decisions! :D


March 31, 2010 at 4:25 pm
Larkspur says:

I heard about this story on the radio, and my immediate reaction was that this is really not a big deal.

The “magnetic field” in question is a device called a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator, for those who are curious:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation

…which simply anaesthetizes a portion of the brain temporarily. For example, if you used this thing on your visual cortex (back of your head) your vision would be impaired. This device has also been used to show that the visual cortex of people who are blind begins to process tactile stimuli instead of visual input.

So this finding is really saying: There is a portion of the brain that controls morality decisions. We’ve known this for a long time. Where did you think these decisions occurred, in the ether?


March 31, 2010 at 5:34 pm
Elephant's Child says:

So it was all the magnets on the fridge that MADE me eat the last slice of cake :P


March 31, 2010 at 10:31 pm
chris says:

Hmmm… So, Magneto wasn’t a bad guy… he was just using his super power too much. :)


April 1, 2010 at 12:00 am
Jim says:

This research isn’t earth shattering and the media coverage terrible. What size magnetic fields are needed? A few milli-Tesla? A Tesla? Tens of Tesla? Moreover, “part of brain artificially shutdown proven not to work under tests” isn’t really “news”.


April 1, 2010 at 7:17 am

I blame mobile phones.


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