The Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the by Donald W. Pfaff

By Donald W. Pfaff

We have in mind the admonition of our moms: “Treat others as you will have them to regard you.” yet what if being great used to be anything we have been prone by way of nature to do besides?

Renowned neuroscientist Donald Pfaff upends our complete realizing of ethics and social contracts with an exciting proposition: the Golden Rule is hardwired into the human brain.

Pfaff, the researcher who first stumbled on the connections among particular mind circuits and sure behaviors, contends that the fundamental ethics governing our daily lives may be traced on to mind circuitry. Writing with well known technology journalist Sandra J. Ackerman, he explains during this transparent and concise account how particular mind signs set off us to contemplate our activities as though they have been directed at ourselves—and for this reason lead us to regard others as we want to be taken care of. mind hormones are part of this complex method, and The Neuroscience of reasonable Play discusses how mind hormones can catalyze behaviors with ethical implications in such components as self-sacrifice, parental love, friendship, and violent aggression.

Drawing on his personal learn and different fresh reports in mind technology, Pfaff deals a thought-provoking speculation for why yes moral codes and ideas have remained consistent throughout human societies and cultures in the course of the international and over the centuries of heritage. An exceptional and provocative research, The Neuroscience of reasonable Play bargains a brand new viewpoint at the more and more vital intersection of neuroscience and ethics.

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Extra resources for The Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the Golden Rule

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Glutamate and fear. Glutamate binds to NMDA and AMPA receptors on amygdala neurons to promote fear. Certain aspects of fear depend on which receptor glutamate binds to; blocking this binding might be a way to reduce inappropriate fear. 30 Figure 3b. Neuropeptides and fear. Neuropeptides influence cells in various ways, including stimulating signaling. A neuropeptide called BDNF may participate in fear “conditioning,” or learning to fear. 31 t h e n e u r o s c i e n c e o f fa i r p la y Glutamate One rapidly acting neurotransmitter important for the production of fear in the amygdala is glutamate.

Suppressing fear. Neurons in the prefrontal cortex have the capacity to suppress fear responses. ing additional routes by which prefrontal inhibition could “cut off” amygdala-generated fear responses. An account of how the prefrontal cortex inhibits inappropriate fear responses is a scientific work in progress, and a full picture of this inhibition is yet to emerge. Apparently the prefrontal cortex controls fear, in part, by establishing a state of expectancy that an emotional event will occur.

The amygdala triggers physical feelings of fear. Some sensory signals that cause fear reach it directly; others arrive indirectly, passing first through the thalamus and cortex. While smell reaches the amygdala directly, another kind of sensory signal to get there is sight. Belinda Liddell and Leanne Williams, at the University of Sydney in Australia, have reported that patients who have suffered damage to the part of the brain that houses the visual system cannot “see” frightening stimuli; that is, they are not conscious of noticing the appearance of such stimuli, as you or I would be, and cannot describe these sights.

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