Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Workshop 2014 (5 of 11) | Greg Berns | Brain Imaging Studies of Sacred Values and Social Norms

Episode Summary

We hypothesize that when people engage sacred values that underpin many political conflicts, they behave differently than when operating with the more mundane values of the marketplace and normal social interactions. Given the importance of sacred values, and their potential for triggering violent conflict, it is important to understand how sacred values become intertwined in decision making. Traditionally, this type of investigation has been the purview of anthropology and sociology. However, recent advances in functional brain imaging make it possible to use this technology to uncover biological signatures in the brain for sacred values and the neural systems that come online when they are violated.

Episode Notes

We hypothesize that when people engage sacred values that underpin many political conflicts, they behave differently than when operating with the more mundane values of the marketplace and normal social interactions. Given the importance of sacred values, and their potential for triggering violent conflict, it is important to understand how sacred values become intertwined in decision making. Traditionally, this type of investigation has been the purview of anthropology and sociology. However, recent advances in functional brain imaging make it possible to use this technology to uncover biological signatures in the brain for sacred values and the neural systems that come online when they are violated.