Bringing the Text to Life
Is it okay to let somebody you love walk across a bridge you know to be unsafe?
That seems like a simple-enough question with an obvious answer. Of course, it isn’t okay, and none of us would do it.
Except maybe if you’ve had a magnet waved over your head.
A small study conducted earlier this year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that the introduction of a magnetic field to a specific brain region can change people’s moral judgments.
The study identified a region of the brain just above and behind the right ear that appears to control morality. The researchers found that applying magnetic pulses blocked cell activity in that area, which appeared to temporarily impair volunteers’ understanding of right and wrong.
The bridge scenario was but one of several tests used with the 20 study participants. They were asked how acceptable it was for a man to let his girlfriend walk across a bridge he knew to be unsafe. After receiving a 500-millisecond magnetic pulse to their...