Latest Liane Young Stories

2011-02-01 01:59:26

Neuroscientists find evidence that autistic patients have trouble understanding other people's intentions A study from MIT neuroscientists reveals that high-functioning autistic adults appear to have trouble using theory of mind to make moral judgments in certain situations. Specifically, the researchers found that autistic adults were more likely than non-autistic subjects to blame someone for accidentally causing harm to another person. This shows that their judgments rely more on the...

2010-03-29 15:26:18

MIT neuroscientists influence people's moral judgments by disrupting specific brain region MIT neuroscientists have shown they can influence people's moral judgments by disrupting a specific brain region "” a finding that helps reveal how the brain constructs morality. To make moral judgments about other people, we often need to infer their intentions "” an ability known as "theory of mind." For example, if a hunter shoots his friend while on a hunting trip, we need to know what...

2010-03-24 16:36:46

Study offers a new piece to the puzzle of how the human brain constructs morality A new study from MIT neuroscientists suggests that our ability to respond appropriately to intended harms "” that is, with outrage toward the perpetrator "” is seated in a brain region associated with regulating emotions. Patients with damage to this brain area, known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), are unable to conjure a normal emotional response to hypothetical situations in which a...

2010-03-24 16:14:36

New research provides insight into the region of the brain that underlies our tendency to condemn failed attempts to harm and forgive harms that are accidental. The study, published by Cell Press in the March 25 issue of the journal Neuron, underscores the importance of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC) for making moral judgments about harmful intent. Previous neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies implicated the VMPC in emotional responses to harmful actions, where the actor...

Word of the Day
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'