The ethical brain

  • May 25, 2012
The ethical brain

Molly Crockett takes part in BBC programme on how nature and nurture influences morality.

Gates Cambridge alumna Molly Crockett is taking part in a BBC World Service programme airing this Saturday on the degree to which our moral beliefs are shaped by our neurochemistry and our environment.

In the Discovery programme airing on Saturday at 19:32 on BBC World Service, Dr Carinne Piekema talks to scientists, including Molly Crockett [2006] about the impact of nature versus nurture on moral beliefs. She asks Molly how people’s moral opinions can be modified by directly altering brain chemistry. Molly’s research considers issues such as how what we eat might affect our sense of fairness and whether antidepressants can influence our opinion of what is right and wrong.

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

For her PhD she explored the neural mechanisms of human motivation and decision-making. She focused in particular on how serotonin influences decision-making in social contexts.

She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Zurich where she is studying the neural basis of human altruism, morality and value-based decision-making. Her research is supported by a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship.

She says: “I believe that understanding the brain can enable us to design environments that promote cooperation instead of selfishness.”

Picture credit: smokedsalmon and www.freedigitalphotos.net

Latest News

Knowledge gap on zoonotic disease transmission highlighted

The impact of climate change on migration patterns, particularly in areas which depend on agriculture and livestock, could affect zoonotic disease transmission yet little research has been done to date. A new study, led by Gates Cambridge Scholar and Veterinary Science PhD student Dorien Braam [2018], looks at the research that currently exists, but calls […]

Addressing climate change in words and action

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has called for the US federal government to establish a national, robust and legally binding net-zero target that emphasises comprehensiveness, equity and clarity on the role of offsets.  In an opinion piece in Arizona Republic, Stephen Lezak and his co-authors, including Kate Gallego, the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, which has done […]

Gates Cambridge mentors: forging bonds and giving back

The Gates Cambridge Scholars Council has been running a mentoring programme since 2018 as part of an effort to bring alumni and scholars closer together, build a stronger sense of community and to give mentors a chance to give back. This year has seen a big increase in the number of mentors coming forward, with […]

Scholar joins COP26 net-zero initiative

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been appointed as a climate change consultant on a new consortium working on a net-zero vision for the world ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference [COP26] in November. Ramit Debnath will be working on designing the India net-zero profile chapter of the vision along with in-country experts. The international […]