Jorge Moll, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Health, has been involved in some extremely intriguing studies. He completed his Neurology Residency in 1997 with the following Thesis: fMRI in moral judgment and sensitivity, which was a preview into future direction of his studies.
One study in 2006 that he was excited to see the results from was a study that showed that “doing good” (for example, donating to charity or helping someone in need), could actually feel good. The discovery that the actual chemistry of our brains is so deeply rooted in what are usually considered matters of free will, could not help but fascinate someone who had written so many articles about moral and social behavior.
This study showed that the brain reacts the same when thinking of acting for someone else’s benefit as it does when we think of more physical things such as eating. In other words our brains actually tell us that it feels good to help others. For a scientist such as Jorge Moll, this study could be an opportunity to deeper understanding about the choices that people make and why they make them.
With the evidence of this study showing that our brains actually reward good deeds with a pleasurable feeling, Jorge Moll and other scientists have surely opened the door for serious thoughts about how we view morality. Neuroscience has uncovered so much about the complexity of our brains that discussions about morality and free will are more hotly debated than ever. Can people truly be good if being charitable is merely programmed into us so that we can be rewarded by our brain’s pleasure center? This is surely a question for deep discussion, debate, and research.
Jorge Moll is plainly deeply invested in shedding light on the brain’s role in moral and social behavior. He has co-authored numerous studies on the subject such as the one above. The research of such scientists and the astounding discoveries of the complexities of the brain not only change how we perceive our own actions, but can also help in the understanding of those with behavioral and social disorders.