You win a thousand dollars. Do you save it for yourself or donate it to charity? Jorge Moll, neuroscientist and president of D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), posed a similar question while conducting his research. What do you think other people said? The findings continue to baffle people all over the globe.
When participants in Moll’s study admitted they would donate the winnings to charity, a certain reward center lit up in their brains. The area usually lights up when a person eats or engages in sexual activity, so what does this mean? After all, giving to others is completely different from the aforementioned acts.
Philosophers and scientists alike have been debating this very theory for centuries. Are humans programmed to be moral? Until now, research on this question has been rather dry. Scientists admittedly believe most moral decisions have to do with the programming of the brain, but offer little to back their claims. Moll offers answers to one of the most intriguing insights into the human mind. With his study, we learn that empathy is at the core of morality, and that generosity often stems from feeling good about doing good. Take the information as you will. Do humans have the free will to be generous, or is it up to genetics?
Jorge Moll continues his research today in order to bring more answers, and possibly questions regarding typical human behaviors. His medical degree from São Paolo University led him to working within the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit at IDOR. He now collaborates with leading neuroscience programs worldwide, including VHM Ventures in San Jose, California. His plethora of distinctions only solidifies his expertise in the field. Keep your eyes peeled, and brains open for more research from Jorge Moll, especially if you have dozens of existential questions begging to be answered.