Pascal Molenberghs

The left and right lateral orbitofrontal cortex was more active for shooting innocent civilians compared to shooting soldiers.

2 thoughts on “Pascal Molenberghs

  1. shinichi Post author

    Is there a moral centre in our brain?

    by Pascal Molenberghs

    To investigate moral situations in which people actually had to harm others in real life themselves, my research group recently conducted an fMRI experiment in which people had to give electric shocks to others. Our results show more activation in both the left and right lateral orbitofrontal cortex when people were harming others. This is the part of the brain involved in feelings of displeasure.

    Interestingly, in another fMRI experiment we showed that these same regions become active when we kill an innocent person. But when we kill a soldier who attacks us, this regions doesn’t become active.

    These results show that, depending on the situation, we can “switch off” brain regions that typically prevent us from harming others if we feel the situation justifies violence (when we have to defend our own life, for instance).


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