A Bad Taste in the Mouth – taste affects moral judgments

A Bad Taste in the Mouth

Gustatory Disgust Influences Moral Judgment

Kendall J. Eskine1,2,

Natalie A. Kacinik1,2 and

Jesse J. Prinz1

+ Author Affiliations

1The Graduate Center, City University of New York

2Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Kendall J. Eskine, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 2900 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11210 E-mail: kendall.eskine@gmail.com

Abstract

Can sweet-tasting substances trigger kind, favorable judgments about other people? What about substances that are disgusting and bitter? Various studies have linked physical disgust to moral disgust, but despite the rich and sometimes striking findings these studies have yielded, no research has explored morality in conjunction with taste, which can vary greatly and may differentially affect cognition. The research reported here tested the effects of taste perception on moral judgments. After consuming a sweet beverage, a bitter beverage, or water, participants rated a variety of moral transgressions. Results showed that taste perception significantly affected moral judgments, such that physical disgust (induced via a bitter taste) elicited feelings of moral disgust. Further, this effect was more pronounced in participants with politically conservative views than in participants with politically liberal views. Taken together, these differential findings suggest that embodied gustatory experiences may affect moral processing more than previously thought.

via A Bad Taste in the Mouth.

via A Bad Taste in the Mouth.

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Court in India use brain scan to convict murder suspect

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/15/asia/15brainscan.php

“in a murder case in Pune, in Maharashtra State, that a judge explicitly cited a scan as proof that the suspect’s brain held “experiential knowledge” about the crime that only the killer could possess, sentencing her to life in prison.

This latest Indian attempt at getting past criminals’ natural defenses begins with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, in which electrodes are placed on the head to measure electrical waves. The suspect sits in silence, eyes shut. An investigator reads aloud details of the crime — as prosecutors see it — and the resulting brain images are processed using software built in Bangalore.

The software tries to detect whether, when the crime’s details are recited, the brain lights up in specific regions — the areas that, according to the technology’s inventors, show measurable changes when experiences are relived, their smells and sounds summoned back to consciousness. The inventors of the technology claim the system can distinguish between peoples’ memories of events they witnessed and between deeds they committed.”

河南成人道屠宰試點

If they do it well this is very encouraging.

明報 2007年12月17日

中國河南省將成為豬隻人道屠宰的試點省份,盡量減少動物的緊張和恐懼,屠豬前要豬看到自己的夥伴。

「河南商報」報道,世界保護動物協會和北京朝陽安華動物產品安全研究所共同發起的中國人道屠宰計劃昨天在河南省啟動。

報道說,人道屠宰就是包括動物的運輸、裝卸、停留待宰以及宰殺過程,採取合乎動物行為的方式,以盡量減少動物的緊張和恐懼。最基本的要求是在宰殺動物時,必須先將動物「致昏」、使其失去痛覺、再放血使其死亡。

中國人道屠宰草案規定,卸豬台坡度要小於等於二十度,讓豬緩慢從車上走下,避免摔傷。豬圈應保證圈舍四周有不透明的圍牆,避免生豬看到豬圈外的宰割場景而產生恐慌。

草案還規定趕豬單通道改成雙通道,盡量減少拐彎,而且趕豬要用塑膠趕豬拍,「哄著」往前走。雙通道趕豬是為了讓豬看到還有同伴在,不會感到恐慌。最後宰殺步驟,電擊昏豬後,縮短處理時間,要在十五秒內刺殺放血。

人道宰殺也有助於提高豬肉品質,報道說,研究表明,當豬恐慌後,會分泌一些不好的物質,出現「白肌肉」現象,豬肉的顏色發白,質軟,還有滲入的不良體液。因此,人道屠宰豬肉的品質會更好。

Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children

doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050184

“People often act on behalf of others. They do so without immediate personal gain, at cost to themselves, and even toward unfamiliar individuals. Many researchers have claimed that such altruism emanates from a species-unique psychology not found in humans’ closest living evolutionary relatives, such as the chimpanzee. In favor of this view, the few experimental studies on altruism in chimpanzees have produced mostly negative results. In contrast, we report experimental evidence that chimpanzees perform basic forms of helping in the absence of rewards spontaneously and repeatedly toward humans and conspecifics. In two comparative studies, semi–free ranging chimpanzees helped an unfamiliar human to the same degree as did human infants, irrespective of being rewarded (experiment 1) or whether the helping was costly (experiment 2). In a third study, chimpanzees helped an unrelated conspecific gain access to food in a novel situation that required subjects to use a newly acquired skill on behalf of another individual. These results indicate that chimpanzees share crucial aspects of altruism with humans, suggesting that the roots of human altruism may go deeper than previous experimental evidence suggested.”

Citation: Warneken F, Hare B, Melis AP, Hanus D, Tomasello M (2007) Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children. PLoS Biol 5(7): e184 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050184

Received: February 8, 2007; Accepted: May 14, 2007; Published: June 26, 2007

‘Altruistic’ brain region found

Link: BBC NEWS | Health | ‘Altruistic’ brain region found.

Scientists say they have found the part of the brain that predicts whether a person will be selfish or an altruist.

Altruism – the tendency to help others without obvious benefit to oneself – appears to be linked to an area called the posterior superior temporal sulcus.

Using brain scans, the US investigators found this region related to a person’s real-life unselfish behaviour.

The Duke University Medical Center study on 45 volunteers is published in Nature Neuroscience.

Comment: But which is the cause and which is the effect?

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