TNB Night Owl: Brain Magnets

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have determined that a strong magnetic field, applied to the brain, can…

…knock you unconscious?  Kill you?  Cause cellular damage?  Well, maybe it can do all of those things, but it would have to be an amazingly strong magnetic field.  They were merely working with a strong field, here, and discovered that it can alter a person’s moral judgement.

in 2010, Researchers at MIT placed a magnetic field (given the scientific moniker of a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) across a portion of the brain known as the right temporo-parietal junction.  This location was chosen specifically because prior testing had shown activity there when people were known to be considering questions of morality. (MIT)

The field was the only thing that penetrated the junction.  Nothing invasive was used; no electrodes, no probes.  Just the magnetic field.

That’s when things got interesting.

Control subjects were able to evaluate the harmfulness and morality of characters’ intentions, whereas those exposed to TMS made judgments based purely on outcome. For example, one common question asked whether or not it was morally permissible for a man to allow his girlfriend to cross a bridge he knows is unsafe, even if in the end she makes it across safely. Control subjects found the intention to do harm morally impermissible, but those exposed to TMS largely based their judgment solely on the outcome; no harm, no foul.

Popular Science

Note: it doesn’t damage a person’s sense of morality, it merely negated their ability to recognize that there was a moral component to actions.

Sadly, the strength of the field required, the requirement that it pass through only that area of the brain and the fact that it can’t actually change people’s beliefs only serve to disappoint, once again, the “orbital mind control laser” crowd.  That, and any actual tin foil used for a protective hat would be pulled away from the head by any magnetic field strong enough to induce the effect.

The conspiracy theorists were disappointed once again.

Question of the night: What’s your favorite use for tin or aluminum foil?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.

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