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

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. […]