Roxanne Khamsi in New Scientist:
Mr Spock, the fictional Vulcan famously logical and lacking in emotion, sacrificed himself for his comrades in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan with the following words to Captain Kirk: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one…”
Now, revealing new research shows that people with damage to a key emotion-processing region of the brain also make moral decisions based on the greater good of the community, unclouded by concerns over harming an individual.
It is the first study to demonstrate how emotion impacts moral judgement and sheds light on why people often act out of respect for an individual rather than choosing to act in a more logical, utilitarian way. The findings could cause a rethink in how society determines a “moral good”, and challenge the 18th-century philosophies of Immanuel Kant and David Hume.