When people witness a hurtful action they make a moral determination based on whether it is intentional or accidental instantly, according to a new paper.
The paper says the brain is hard-wired to recognize when another person is being intentionally harmed. It also provides new insights into how such recognition is connected with emotion and morality, according to lead author Jean Decety, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at U of Chicago.
The researchers studied adults who watched videos of people who suffered accidental harm (such as being hit with a golf club) and intentional harm (such as being struck with a baseball bat). While watching the videos, brain activity was collected with equipment that accurately maps responses in different regions of the brain and importantly, the timing between these regions. The technique is known as high-density, event-related potentials technology.
The intentional harm sequence produced a response in the brain almost instantly. The study showed that within 60 milliseconds, the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (also known as TPJ area), located in the back of the brain, was first activated, with different activity depending on whether the harm was intentional or accidental. It was followed in quick succession by the amygdala, often linked with emotion, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (180 milliseconds), the portion of the brain that plays a critical role in moral decision-making.
There was no such response in the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex when the harm was accidental.
“Our data strongly support the notion that determining intentionality is the first step in moral computations,” said Decety, who conducted research on the topic with Stephanie Cacioppo, a research associate (assistant professor) in psychology at U of Chicago.
Other studies with functional MRI scans, including those in Decety’s lab, have shown that those areas of the brain become activated when people see others intentionally harmed, but those studies have been unable to separate or time the way the various parts of the brain may work together.
“High-density ERPs can identify spatio-temporal patterns of communication between regions that contrast analyses (such as fMRI) with low temporal resolution may not detect, and such methods are necessary to advance knowledge of neuroscience of morality,” said Cacioppo.
The ability to recognize and respond emotionally to the intentional infliction of harm is a critical source of morality that is universal across cultures, researchers believe. “It is part of humans’ evolutionary heritage,” Decety said. “The long history of mammalian evolution has shaped our brains to be sensitive to signs of suffering of others. And this constitutes a natural foundation for morality and sensitivity to justice.”
Philosophers have debated the origins of this moral response for ages. Some maintain that moral judgments begin with an immediate aversive reaction to perceived or imagined harm to victims, though the full moral judgment may form only after the fact. Other philosophers maintain that moral principals develop from reason alone and are not connected to emotion.
The new research suggests that emotion and the perception of intentionality, rather than deliberate reasoning, comprise the vital first component of moral responses—at least for responses that stem from care for others Decety said.
The research may help inform other areas of neurodevelopment research, including studies of the moral responses of psychopaths and of children who lack empathy for others, displaying what are called callous-unemotional traits.
Want to do some research or just stumble across something interesting? Come and browse the digital stacks of one the worlds premier libraries. Here you will find a large image database which you can search and/or browse by subject or name.
The New York Public Library Digital Library Gallery-see it for yourself – online.
According to the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA): Based on the understanding that the body and mind are interrelated, dance/movement therapy (D/MT) is defined as the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual. Dance/movement therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings, and in nursing homes, day care centers, disease prevention, and health promotion programs. The dance/movement therapist focuses on movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship. Expressive, communicative, and adaptive behaviors are all considered for both group and individual treatment. Body movement as the core component of dance simultaneously provides the means of assessment and the mode of intervention for dance/movement therapy.
I often define D/MT to clients as psychotherapy that is not limited to talking but encompasses the full range of human expression, including movement such as gestures and or postures, drawing, writing, drama, music and other expressions that can have a therapeutic benefit for the client(s).
Thee BBC is big into these types of demographical thingies. : The world’s population is expected to hit seven billion in the next few weeks. After growing very slowly for most of human history, the number of people on Earth has more than doubled in the last 50 years. Where do you fit into this story of human life? Fill in your date of birth below to find out. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15391515
Environment for the Americas was created as a result of International Migratory Bird Day’s success. Created in 1993, the celebration has grown to become much more than a one day event. Over 450 events are now hosted from South America to Canada, materials are available year-round, and other projects and programs have been developed to increase bird conservation education.. As a result of Bird Day’s growth, sponsors could no longer house the program. In 2006, formal steps were taken to create a 501(c)(3) organization to provide a permanent home for Bird Day and other exciting efforts. That organization is Environment for the Americas (EFTA)! Today, EFTA works with partners and programs throughout the Western Hemisphere.
At EFTA we strive to make bird conservation education available throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Our Goals are to:
•Create the framework educators need to host bird-focused programs, events, and festivals;
•Develop education materials about birds and their conservation;
•Serve as a network for the exchange of information about successful bird conservation education programs;
•Motivate the public to become involved in bird conserva