Magnetic Morality Manipulation: CSR's Latest Threat?

by Aman Singh Das | March 31, 2010

And you thought morality and a good conscience is what dictates our decisions? A new report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science alleges that magnets can alter a person's sense of morality. Tested by a team of scientists from MIT, Harvard University and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, this study can potentially have implications not only for the field of neuroscience, but also the way our legal system operates. For example, take a look at the excerpt below:

Scales of Justice

 "Everyday jurors are asked to weigh a person's actions against their intentions. This new study won't transform the legal field, said Owen Jones, a professor of law and biology at Vanderbilt University, but it could "enable sophisticated judgments about responsibility, harm and appropriate punishment."

And then this:

 "This study, and other recent studies like it, are enabling us to peer into the very brain activity that underlies and enables legal judgments," said Jones. "Understanding how legal decisions actually work is a potentially important step toward helping decisions be as fair, just and effective as they can be."

However, its best vocalized by Liane Young, one of the scientists on the team from MIT: "It's one thing to 'know' that we'll find morality in the brain. It's another to 'knock out' that brain area and change people's moral judgments."

For all those sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility advocates out there, this can mean yet another hurdle in convincing the top ranks at companies to adopt ethical business practices. For once, science might make our good intentions much harder to prove! And how about delivering one of these magnets first and foremost to Wall Street bankers?

I'm not making this up, so go ahead and read the full report on Discovery News and if you feel as overwhelmed by the study's implications as I do, leave a comment! Let's talk. Or follow me on Twitter at @VaultCSR as I attempt to dissect CSR and how this latest discovery has the potential to derail the pithy progress corporate America might have made in doing good.

Filed Under: CSR


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