Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Brain damage and moral decision making

Moll and Oliveira-Souza (PDF here) do a nice review and discussion of experiments of a sort I have mentioned in an earlier post, that show that patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions are more likely to base moral decisions on utilitarian rather than emotional grounds. (The most extreme example comes from high conflict emotional scenarios such as the one in which one has to decide whether to push a bulky stranger onto the track of a runaway trolley to save the lives of five workmen, thus killing the stranger.)

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