October 1, 2013: Morality

Science Pub RVA #13

Brains, Biology & Morality

What is the biological basis of morality? Scientists are just beginning to understand how our brain is working when we feel compassion, loyalty or other moral emotions.  Dr. Reimers explored the neurobiology of morality both in terms of moral feeling and in terms of values.  He related each moral feeling and value to what we know (and what we don’t) about the brain function underlying it.  Dr. Reimers addressed such questions as where is the moral sense in a person’s brain?  What activity goes on in our brains when we respond to another person with empathy and when we make moral choices?  And whether the brains of psychopaths are actually different.

Mark A. Reimers Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics
Mark A. Reimers
Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

Dr. Reimers is a mathematician who has been working in the fields of genomics and neuroscience since 2001.  His current research at VCU’s Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics is on the genetics of mental illness, the development of the brain, and the dynamics of brain activity.  Dr. Reimers directed the data analysis for the recent comprehensive study of human brain development by the BrainSpan project published October 2011 in Nature.

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