Gates scholar leads research on antidepressants

  • September 28, 2010
Gates scholar leads research on antidepressants

The most common type of antidepressants alters moral judgement, says a study led by Gates scholar Molly Crockett.

The most common type of antidepressants, serotonin enhancers, alters peoples’ moral judgement and leads to a reduction in aggressive behaviour, says a study led by Gates scholar Molly Crockett.

The new research is published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Crockett and her team from the University of Cambridge’s Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, discovered that healthy volunteers given drugs which increase their serotonin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), have an increased aversion to harming others, viewing such actions as morally forbidden.

Molly said: “Our study suggests that these medications can affect people’s sense of right and wrong, which influences the choices they make in everyday life.

“Interestingly, the drug’s effects were strongest in people who were naturally high in empathy, suggesting that serotonin could enhance people’s concern for others by making the prospect of harming them feel worse.”

Crockett is originally from California and began her PhD in Experimental Psychology at Cambridge in 2006, funded by a Gates scholarship

Her research explores the neural mechanisms of human motivation and decision-making under the supervision. She is particularly focused on how serotonin influences decision-making in social contexts.

Read more

 

Latest News

Lifetime honour for former Provost

Professor Barry Everitt, former Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, has been elected a lifetime Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. AAAS has elected more than 500 scientists, engineers and innovators from around the world and […]

‘Tackle climate change misinformation through computational social science’

Future leaders and researchers need to be urgently trained to tackle climate change misinformation through an interdisciplinary approach that foregrounds computational social science and extends beyond laboratories and university campuses to shape the science-policy interface and rebuild public trust in climate research, according to leading academics. Writing in Nature Human Behaviour, the academics, including Dr Ramit […]

An existential psychological thriller for aesthetes

Christy Edwall’s first novel, History Keeps Me Awake at Night, out in early February, has been described as “an existential psychological thriller for aesthetes and lovers of cultural London and the world… A story cleverly told of a young woman involved in contemporary forms of global voyeurism”. It tells the story of Margit, a London […]

A detective of ancient climate change

Stijn De Schepper is an ancient detective. His job is to investigate past climate change through working his way down the ocean bed, starting with today’s sediment and moving back through thousands of years of Earth’s history.  He maps ancient marine sediments to find out if, why and how the environment changed in the past. […]