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MIT Study Reports: Moral Judgment Affected by Magnetic Pulse

Posted in Psychology, Science, society, Uncategorized by farmerjaneusa on May 24, 2010
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To be able to apply a magnetic field
to a specific brain region and change people’s
moral judgments is really astonishing
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– Dr Liane Young
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Researchers have found that moral judgments are affected when magnetic pulses are applied to a knot of nerve cells known as  the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ).
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MRI brain scans showing the location of the right temporoparietal junction (blue circle). The purple triangle shows a nearby region that the researchers disrupted with magnetic stimulation as a control experiment. Images courtesy Rebecca Saxe laboratory, MIT
MRI brain scans showing the location of the right temporoparietal junction (blue circle). The purple triangle shows a nearby region that the researchers disrupted with magnetic stimulation as a control experiment. Images courtesy Rebecca Saxe laboratory, MIT
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According to the MIT News Office:
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The researchers, led by Rebecca Saxe, MIT assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, report their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 29.The study offers “striking evidence” that the right TPJ, located at the brain’s surface above and behind the right ear, is critical for making moral judgments, says Liane Young, lead author of the paper. It’s also startling, since under normal circumstances people are very confident and consistent in these kinds of moral judgments, says Young, a postdoctoral associate in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
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ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2010):

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Previous studies have shown that a brain region known as the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) is highly active when we think about other people’s intentions, thoughts and beliefs. In the new study, the researchers disrupted activity in the right TPJ by inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp. They found that the subjects’ ability to make moral judgments that require an understanding of other people’s intentions — for example, a failed murder attempt — was impaired.

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Rebecca Saxe , Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Fred and Carole Middleton Career Development Professorship

Rebecca Saxe , Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Fred and Carole Middleton Career Development Professorship

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Get inside the mind of Professor Saxe as she discusses the new branch of neurology known as cognitive neuroscience, studying human brains in action, as well as theory of mind.
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Read more about how the study was conducted.

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  1. […] autor: Society « WordPress.com Tag Feed […]

  2. […] people’s intentions — for example, a failed murder attempt — was impaired. . . Read more at WTPE. Sphere: Related Contentvar wordpress_toolbar_urls = […]


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