Jorge Moll Researches How to Be Good

Jorge Moll, a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health, conducted a study that proved generosity promotes a sensation of pleasure and overall goodness. Moll, as well as other professionals, presume that the study of neuroscience can open doors leading to understanding morality.

By using brain imaging and psychological experiments, scientists have found that elements of morality are in fact hard-wired into the brain and that it has biological roots which effect a subject’s feelings and mood. Moll’s research has proclaimed empathy as the foundation for morality. Knowing what someone else is experiencing is the first step in evolving social behavior and being aware of what humans believe to be right and wrong.

Some worry that the study might reduce the importance of responsibility. If morality becomes dependent on brain chemistry, then the idea of free will is diminished and doing what is right, and wrong becomes a means of survival ( What has proven accurate is that morality requires a great deal of emotion. Another experiment conducted by neuroscientists at the University of Southern California showed that brain-damaged patients solved moral difficulties with cold answers and did not manage to feel distressed in the same way a patient with a healthy brain would. This finding explains why humans are the way that they are because they are only capable of reacting to what their minds allow them to. This fact should put a sense of responsibility into everyone, forcing them to begin looking outside of their immediate surroundings.

Jorge Moll graduated medical school from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and finished his neurology residency three years later from the same school (Jorgemolls). He is a member of many notable organizations including the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, International Neuroethics Society, Organization for Human Brain Mapping, and the Society for Neuroscience.


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