Have you heard that it is better to give than it is to receive? According to neuroscientist Jorge Moll, this is a scientific fact. He was part of a team who asked first to visualize giving a large sum of money to charity, then imagine keeping it for themselves. As the volunteers pictured this scenario, their brains were scanned. The results of these brain scans showed that the same part of the brain that is activated when a person anticipates eating or sexual stimulation is activated when they imagine helping others. Follow Jorge on linkedin.com.
The connection that Jorge Moll and others involved in the study made between neuroscience and giving is an important one. It seems to suggest that the brain is pre-programmed for morality, and that this may have been an important part of human evolution. Further study indicates that human morality’s roots may lie in empathy. A study on rats showed that if a rat was aware that other rats were being harmed when they ate, they would eventually stop eating. Furthermore, patients with brain damage and mental health issues show signs of having less empathy than patients with no mental illness and/or brain damage.
Jorge Moll received his MD from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and his PhD in experimental physiopathology from Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz da Universidade de São Paulo. He is also the director and serves on the board of the D’Or Institute for Research and Education. He is an elected affiliate member of the Brazilian Academy of Science and governors board member of the International Neuroethics Society. He also received a Visiting Scholar Award from the Stanford Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University. His neuroscience work examines morality, behavioral neuroscience, and the prefrontal cortex. He is currently the head of the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit at the D’Or Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Watch this video on Youtube.