We have been led to believe that morality is learned but research in the area of neuroscience is shedding light that there is much more to making moral decisions than we thought. Jorge Moll, a researcher in the field of neuroscience is now suggesting that morality may be hardwired in our thinking.
Jorge Moll, working with neuroscientist researcher Jordan Grafman, ran a study on how the brain reacts when a subject was asked to think about giving money away to charity or keeping the money for themselves. Their brains were being scanned while they considered this choice. The results were astonishing. Visit Jorge’s profile on facebook.com.
The scans showed that the subjects brains reacted by activating a primitive part of the brain that lights up when reacting to cues of sex and food. This study suggests that being selfish is not natural. It appears that sharing is rewarded internally by our own bodies.
This revolutionary discovery may confirm the moral teachings that have been handed down for thousands of years through religions and the teachings of philosophers. Perhaps morality is instinctual. It begs the question that it is not just human but may exist in animals also. One study that was done with two rats, and had one rat given electric shocks when the other rat took a bite of food. Soon, the rat stopped eating.
It seems that empathy is natural. When we can sense the what those around us are going through, we accept the responsibility to react appropriately and with support. This response does appear to be instinctual. Tests conducted by neuroscientist Antonio R. Damasio was done on subjects that had damage to a part of the brain, ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These people did not respond to a group situational dilemma with a natural moral compass but rather a logical, uncompassionate, self-preservation response regarding themselves.
It is encouraging to find a meeting of the minds, so to speak, bridging the gap between religious teachings (perhaps more reminders than teachings) and science. Scientist such as Jorge Moll is creating that breakthrough and adding new depth to our understanding of who and what we are. Visit Ideamensch to know more about Jorge Moll.