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

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