Sci + Society,

#086: The Pharmacology of Morality

July 24, 2015

Jesse takes a deep dive with Dr. Molly Crockett into the world of moral decision-making.  A recent study shows how two common medications can sway moral judgments, and Dr. Crockett provides an up-close look into the experiments’ design and its conclusions.  Could we be inadvertently chemically altering our moral intuitions more than we realize?

Moving from flexible morality to locked-in-stone genetic pre-determinism: Eye Color.  Our eye color is written in our genes.  But research shows that eye color may be related to… alcohol dependence!  (Who knew?)  More on that in the Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick.

PS:  Pondering moral dilemmas is a tough call.  But getting the Smart Drug Smarts newsletter should be a no-brainer.  Sign up below and receive your weekly dose of neuroscience goodies.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:33

    Changing moral behavior and pharmacology.

  • 00:01:37

    This Week In Neuroscience: Lost memories and an insight in to amnesia.

  • 00:05:58

    Thank you for all the great reviews on iTunes.

  • 00:08:40

    Smart Drug Smarts features in The Guardian.

  • 00:09:27

    Jesse introduces Dr. Molly Crockett.

  • 00:11:58

    A background on pharmacology and moral judgments.

  • 00:13:52

    Results of the behavioral study - emergence of (hyper)altruism.

  • 00:15:08

    Getting deeper into the design of the experiment.

  • 00:17:00

    Level of interaction between the participants in the experiment.

  • 00:18:38

    Pain value of shock vs the amount of money.

  • 00:20:05

    Pain threshold for most participants.

  • 00:21:21

    Results of the experiment using Citalopram and Levodopa.

  • 00:27:26

    Unintended side-effects of pharmacological intervention.

  • 00:30:43

    Dr. Crockett's future plans with moral enhancement.

  • 00:33:01

    A final word of caution.

  • 00:35:42

    Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: Eye color and alcohol dependence.

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