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

Towards a dictionary of the human genome

Marie Brunet’s research focuses on the secrets still hidden in our genomes. She says that despite the fact that we live in an era where getting our genome sequenced is possible, we still don’t know the origin of two fifths of inherited diseases. That is because, as she says, the genome only currently maps the […]

Scholar recognised for research into misinformation

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been shortlisted for a Women of the Future Award for her research into countering misinformation. Melisa Basol [2018] was shortlisted for the science category of the UK Awards which recognises “truly remarkable female scientists, forging new ground in research and scientific achievement”. There are 11 other categories and three special […]

Scholars join forces on anti-cancer drug

Two Gates Cambridge Scholars have joined forces to work on a drug candidate that has the potential to replace one of the most widely used cancer drugs around the world. Dr Anand Jeyasekharan [2004], who did his PhD in Oncology, and Dr Chandler Robinson [2009] who did an MBA at Cambridge, will collaborate on a […]

Making the experiences of imprisoned women activists visible

Growing up in a small town in Bengal, Jigisha Bhattacharya [2022] developed a particular sensitivity to marginalised groups and conflicts between different communities and identities from an early age.  It is this interest and her experience of political protests at university, combined with a longstanding curiosity about the links between politics and the arts, that […]