Category Archives: Neuroscience Leader

The Life and Legacy of Jorge Moll

Jorge Moll, a Portuguese neuroscientist, recently conducted a study on the human mind. This study, done in collaboration with fellow neuroscientist Jordan Grafman, concluded that the brain experiences good feelings from giving to people, and putting other people’s desires over their own.

This contradicts the belief that people are naturally selfish, and that one has to force themselves to be kind. This is simply not true. They found that the same primitive parts of the brain that are stimulated by things such as food or sex, are also stimulated by the act of giving.

Some people feel that it would diminish the effect of one’s free will and personality, if the morality of individuals is determined by simple brain chemistry. Some scientist, along with Jorge Moll, are wondering if morality is simply an evolutionary tool that is wired into the human mind in order to help one another survive.

The idea of altruism was first described as a ‘helper’s high’ to explain the physical sensation that people feel when helping others. Moll and Grafman found that morality has biological roots, as it functions mainly in the reward center of the brain, similar to a drug. Ergo, some may feel that it undermines the significance of personal responsibility.

Through all of the research that has been conducted, Moll still finds that the neurological functions that occur in relation to human altruism, still remain obscure ( Through various brain scans, he found that patients who were being tested on their altruism took longer to make costly decisions, than to make uncostly decisions.

With all of the research that has been done, Jorge Moll’s research has concluded that many proverbs, as well as the sayings of many theologians and philosophers, are somewhat rooted in scientific truth. It has also found that the ability to give to others is natural, and that it is also stimulating to the giver.