With this paper, I attempt to explore possible neural correlates of morality. We define morality as the one part, structure, or process of the brain that could be linked to an innate ability to understand and determine right versus wrong. An understanding of right of right and wrong can provide us with a sense of guilt and empathy for an action or another person. Right and wrong will be defined through a primarily Judeo-Christian perspective, as it was the principle respondent among our questionnaire. There is a possibility for differences among other religions. For that reason, we expect the neural correlate to be flexible enough to lead to variations. Mirror neurons, or neurons with the ability to excite while watching and executing an action, will be the neural correlate I will explore. Using a combination of Jaynes theory of consciousness, Hawkins hierarchical temporal memory, and a pattern recognition associative network, I will recreate a mirror neuron network, which could represent a learning pattern which develops to classify actions as “right” or “wrong” (Jaynes, 1990, Hawkins 2005).
Recommended CitationMahan, Brianna, "Revisiting the Mind- Body Paradox: Can Brain Functioning Explain Moral Reasoning?" (2009). Honors Projects in Science and Technology. Paper 4.