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Magnetic waves distort the brain's ability to make moral judgments, tell which way is north

Darren Murph

Morality isn't a topic discussed 'round these parts too often, but you mix in the geniuses at MIT and a boatload of magnets, and well -- you've got us interested. According to research conducted by neuroscientists at the institution, people's views on morality can actually be swayed by interfering with activity in a specific brain region. Past studies found that the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) is extremely active when people think about the intentions, thoughts and beliefs of others, and in the new project, gurus disrupted activity in the right TPJ by "inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp." The result? The subjects' ability to make moral judgments requiring an understanding of someone else's intentions (a failed murder attempt, for example) was impaired. MIT's own Rebecca Saxe noted that the process introduced a certain level of "bias" more than an outright change of perception, but still, this definitely sounds like an awesome way to get just about anything you ever wanted. Within reason, of course.

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