March 30, 2010
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.