June 7, 2010


Seminar focuses on neuroethics

Is nothing sacred? Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuroeconomics, is exploring that question through fMRI technology.

“Before, we were using fMRI to understand decision-making in regard to things like money, food and drinks,” Berns said during a recent Neuroethics Symposium. “Now we’re moving into a different realm, sacred values.”

Berns explained how an experiment was set up to measure belief in God. The ongoing work is aimed at helping the Department of Defense combat suicide bombers motivated by religion. Can brain activity predict behavior? “Yes, under constrained conditions,” Berns said.

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