Authors
Rebecca Saxe
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract
When we judge an action as morally right or wrong, we rely on our capacity to infer the actor's mental states. Here, we test the hypothesis that the right temporoparietal junction, an area involved in mental state reasoning, is necessary for making moral judgments. In two experiments, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt neural activity in the RTPJ transiently before moral judgment and during moral judgment. In both experiments, TMS to the RTPJ led participants to rely less on the actor's mental states. A particularly striking effect occurred for attempted harms : Relative to TMS to a control site, TMS to the RTPJ caused participants to judge attempted harms as less morally forbidden and more morally permissible. Thus, interfering with activity in the RTPJ disrupts the capacity to use mental states in moral judgment, especially in the case of attempted harms
Keywords functional MRI  Morality  theory of mind
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DOI 10.1073/pnas.0914826107
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References found in this work BETA

The Moral Judgement of the Child.Jean Piaget - 1933 - Philosophy 8 (31):373-374.
Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future.John Mikhail - 1912 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.

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Citations of this work BETA

Moral Reasoning and Emotion.Joshua May & Victor Kumar - 2018 - In Karen Jones, Mark Timmons & Aaron Zimmerman (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Moral Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 139-156.
Moral Rationalism on the Brain.Joshua May - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
Moral Neuroenhancement.Brian D. Earp, Thomas Douglas & Julian Savulescu - 2017 - In L. Syd M. Johnson & Karen S. Rommelfanger (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. Routledge.

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