Jorge Moll: A true Pioneer in Understanding How the Brain Works When We Do Acts of Kindness
Jorge Moll is a renowned neuroscientist who has done many different studies on the brain and how it works. He has dedicated years of his life to closely looking at the human brain and trying to understand just exactly how it functions. In 2006, he completed a research project in which he gained an understanding that emotional responses that people experience do in fact have an effect on the brain and how it reacts. After this study was concluded, Jorge Moll decided to continue studying the brain and specifically how the functioning of our brain is affected when people complete kind deeds, such as giving freely to others.
In the study, Moll and his team of researchers used magnetic imaging of the brain to determine how the brain functioned when people were confronted with making the decision as to whether or not they should be charitable. They placed a huge emphasis on the mesolimbic part of the brain, as this is the portion of our brain that is directly tied to the release of the hormone dopamine which is the hormone that causes our bodies to feel pleasure. Participants of the study were asked whether they approved of or disapproved of causes that were controversial in society at the time. These were causes that the individuals would most likely hold deep beliefs and values around.
What Jorge Moll and his team found was that when people made choices that involved them receiving money that the brain released dopamine. It was also determined that when people made positive choices that included giving back to others, that dopamine was also released. Surprisingly, the brain activity of the participants actually indicated that they were even more content with giving to others, then when they were on the receiving end. The end result of the study was that Moll and his team concluded that most likely our brain is capable of creating neural pathways that help us make better decisions according to our value system.
Jorge Moll has completed many research studies on the brain and has published many of those. He graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1994 and went on to earn his PhD in Experimental Pathophysiology. Dr. Moll currently heads the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unite at the D’Or Institute for Research and Education.