Monday September 23, 2019

Study Claims, Your Moral Decisions Link To Brain Activity

"Our results demonstrate that people may use different moral principles to make their decisions, and that some people are much more flexible and will apply different principles depending on the situation"

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The study showed that people used different moral principles to make their decisions and also changed their moral behaviour depending on the situation. Pixabay

What makes our decisions morally just or objectionable? It is the brain activity that is responsible for the differences in our moral behaviour, reveals a new study.

“Our study demonstrates that with moral behaviour, people may not in fact always stick to the golden rule. While most people tend to exhibit some concern for others, some others may demonstrate ‘moral opportunism’, where they want to look moral but want to maximize their own benefit,” said lead author Jeroen van Baar, a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University, US.

For the study, published in Nature Communications journal, researchers developed a computational strategy model to examine the brain activity patterns linked to the moral strategies.

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The study’s findings revealed that “unique patterns” of brain activity underlie the inequity aversion and guilt aversion strategies. Pixabay

The team tried to determine which type of moral strategy the participant was using — inequity aversion (where people reciprocate because they want to seek fairness in outcomes); guilt aversion (where people reciprocate because they want to avoid feeling guilty); greed or moral opportunism (where people switch between inequity aversion and guilt aversion depending on what will serve their interests best).

The study showed that people used different moral principles to make their decisions and also changed their moral behaviour depending on the situation.

“In everyday life, we may not notice that our morals are context-dependent since our contexts tend to stay the same daily. However, under new circumstances, we may find that the moral rules we thought we’d always follow are actually quite malleable,” said co-author Luke J. Chang, Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College, US.

“This has tremendous ramifications if one considers how our moral behaviour could change under new contexts, such as during war,” he added.

brain
For the study, published in Nature Communications journal, researchers developed a computational strategy model to examine the brain activity patterns linked to the moral strategies. Pixabay

The study’s findings revealed that “unique patterns” of brain activity underlie the inequity aversion and guilt aversion strategies.

Also Read: Know Which iPhone Features Will Now Be Available in MacBook Series

“Our results demonstrate that people may use different moral principles to make their decisions, and that some people are much more flexible and will apply different principles depending on the situation,” said Chang.

“This may explain why people that we like and respect occasionally do things that we find morally objectionable,” he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Nearly 1,000 Young People March in Kampala to Protest Land, Forest and Wetland Degradation

Statistics from Uganda's forest authority show that between 1990 and 2015, the country's forest cover dropped by half

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People, March, Kampala
Young people gather to protest land, forest and wetland degradation, in Kampala, Uganda, Sept. 20, 2019. (H. Athumani/VOA) VOA

Nearly 1,000 young people marched Friday in Kampala to protest land, forest and wetland degradation around the country.

Statistics from Uganda’s forest authority show that between 1990 and 2015, the country’s forest cover dropped by half — from 24 percent to 12.4 percent.

In addition, a 2015 report by the U.N. Development Program indicated that Uganda loses about 2 percent of its wetlands annually.

The protesting youth, accompanied by a matching band, carried placards that read, “Act Now for Climate Justice,” “Stop Pollution” and “Stop Land Degradation and Deforestation.”

People, March, Kampala
FILE – Dirt is cleared and dumped, destroying a wetland in Entebbe, Uganda, July 8, 2013. VOA

Noah Osbert, a student of Kyambogo University, said world leaders need to listen to young people on issues that affect their future.

“It is incumbent upon them and upon us to show that we have that spirit of compassion to plant trees, to conserve nature for the future generation,” Osbert said. “For example, we are looking up to having industrialization, how are we counter measuring for industrialization? Because it comes along with the negative side of it.”

Research from Makerere University School of Public Health in May 2019 indicated 31,600 people die in Uganda from air pollution-related illnesses linked to dust and industrialization.

In addition, the researchers say Kampala’s annual mean pollution levels are five times above the level recommended by the World Health Organization.

Also Read- Worldwide Protests against Climate Change to Draw More than One Million Participants

“I am going to get lung complications, just because the atmosphere is not safe,” said Akello Harriet Hope, program manager for Climate Action Network Uganda. “Am going to go to the water sources, I consume water that is already contaminated. Because waste management is zero. We are getting health issues related to emissions from the preconditioned cars. So, we need justice now.”

Exporting coal

In February 2018, Kenya imposed a logging ban. In November, the government extended the logging ban for a year, to enforce reforms aimed at restoring forest cover. However, Uganda immediately became a source of charcoal in Kenya, leading to more logging in the country.

Working with the government, activist group Youth Go Green says it intends to plant 10 million trees in the next five years.

 

People, March, Kampala
FILE – Dirt is cleared and dumped, destroying a wetland in Entebbe, Uganda, July 8, 2013. Pixabay

“Charcoal is being exported to Kenya, to Tanzania and other East African countries,” said Edwin Muhumuza, the group’s leader. “But, I think, we are going to put it before government to see that trade is stopped.”

Also Read- Saudi Arabia and India Explore New Avenues Together

The protest march comes just a day before the first youth Climate Summit in New York, which  will provide a platform for young leaders to showcase their solutions and engage with decision-makers. (VOA)