Neuroscientist Jorge Moll Reveals Altruism Secrets

You have heard that “giving is receiving”. Jorge Noll shows us how this is true. During research with Jordan Grafman at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Moll noticed a pattern that showed neural activity related to pleasure, such as food or sex (DiasDaCruz). When volunteers were asked to decide whether to give money to a charity or keep it, this section of the brain was active.


This biochemical activity in a primitive part of their brains was active when volunteers put the interests or needs of others before their own.


This suggests that altruism is not some superior moral choice, but is basic brain biochemistry that suppresses selfish urges. By activating this section of the brain, it shows that being generous is basic and pleasing. This was noticed in 2006, yet spiritual leaders told people about giving centuries ago.


As science catches up with spirituality, more opportunities arise to discover what morality is and what it means to be good. Research in recent months shows morality seems to be “hard-wired” in the brain. Perhaps it is part of the evolution of other species as well (


Some research with rats revealed if a rat is given food and the rat in the next cage gets a small electric shock, the first rat will refuse the food. This demonstrates the rodent’s ability to sacrifice for the benefit of another rat.


The basic news is that morality has its roots in biology via the reward center of the brain. The research by Jorge Moll, Grafton and others continue to show that emotions are a central part of moral thinking.


People with damage in this section of the brain, process information without emotions. These patients reach answers guided by the “end justifies the means” logic.


Moll worked with the National Institutes for Health in Bethesda, Maryland completing post-doctoral studies. He has received awards for his research with experimental physiopathology.


Dr. Jorge Moll specializes in neurological sciences, social values, and empathy. His focus is the D’Or Institute for Research and Education in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

More about Jorge Moll on Crunchbase and LinkedIn

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