Brain Health,
Sci + Society,

#035: Rani Lill Anjum Discusses Causation and Correlation

April 04, 2014

In Episode #35, Jesse talks with Rani Lill Anjum, of the Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU) on the difference between causation and correlation.

Rani Lill Anjum (Dr. Art. Philosophy, Logic of Conditionals,Tromsø, Norway 2005) is Research Fellow at the Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU) where she leads Causation in Science (CauSci), funded by the Research Council of Norway’s FRIPRO funding scheme for independent research projects. CauSci is a global network for those interested in a scientifically informed philosophy of causation. She is co-author of Getting Causes from Powers (Oxford, 2011) during her postdoctoral project Causation, Dispositions and Laws at University of Nottingham. More recently she co-authored Causation: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2013). She runs the Philosophy of Science forum at NMBU, and also the Philosophy Café. On Twitter she manages the biggest list of academic philosophers, following over 1500 accounts. Her research interests include causation, probability, dispositions, conditionals, modality, free will, and philosophy of biology and medicine.

This Week In Neuroscience: How Your Brain Makes Moral Judgements

A study at Duke University proved that there are specific areas of the brain that are tied to the moral decision making. By comparing the brain activities of psychopaths and normal law-abiding citizens. Psychos showed much lower brain activity medial prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate. Researchers concluded that the psychopaths don’t use emotional input in the processing of decision making (so screaming won’t help – make a note).

Scientists were also able to manipulate these morality-related areas of the brain using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to change the moral thought process of their patience. Participants who underwent TMS directed at the right temporoparietal junction of their brains were more likely to agree that inflicting harm on another person is an a-okay thing to do. Weird right? We’re told that this technology won’t be used anytime soon to build an army of psychopathic zombies through some sort of satellite-based TMS broadcast, but it’s good to know that science has found a way to flip on the psycho-switch with a magnet. Go science go! Check the article below.

Read the original article here.

What You’ll Learn

  • The difference between causation and correlation
  • The process of determining causation vs. correlation
  • Why causal connections are often difficult to pin down

Key Terms Mentioned

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