Jorge Moll and His New Discipline

Jorge Moll is a Brazilian neurologist focusing on the field of human moral abstract cognition. The premise behind this work is that all humans have a similar brain architecture that houses our moral beliefs and that is sculpted by our interactions with society. Follow Jorge Moll on Linkedin. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to map what part of the brain is being activated while the patient is conscious and alert, Moll is attempting to map where in the brain our moral and social beliefs are stored. As a patient experiences a thought or emotion the part of the brain associated with that emotion can be mapped in real time and compared with findings of similar brain scans. Watch this video on youtube.com. It was previously believed that our morals and values were stored in only one or two portions of the brain but Jorge Moll and his researchers believe now that there are many areas of the brain that store our moral framework and interact with each other when we make a moral or ethical judgment. In their paper The Neural Basis of Human Moral Cognition, Jorge Moll and his team discuss treatment of degradation of moral or social behavior can be fundamentally changed. This is to better accommodate the fact that this is likely a brain disorder that needs to be approached to take into consideration which part or parts of the brain have been affected by disease or injury. Moll argues for this new field and its potential benefits, “Moral cognitive neuroscience can improve assessment, prediction and treatment of behavioral disorders. Understanding the neural basis of moral cognition will help to shape environmental, psychological and medical intervention aimed at promoting prosocial behaviors and social welfare.” While Moll and his team have made many innovative discoveries they also call for more research into the field as they have also uncovered, “new conundrums that require theoretical frameworks to be compatible with distinctive characteristics of the human moral condition.”

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