Magnets Can Alter Morality

Medical researchers were able to disrupt the moral judgments of test subjects by subjecting the part of the brain responsible for such decisions to magnetic forces:

For their experiment, the scientists had 20 subjects read several dozen different stories about people with good or bad intentions that resulted in a variety of outcomes.

One typical story was about a boyfriend who leads his girlfriend across a bridge. In some versions, the boyfriend harmlessly walked his girlfriend across the bridge with no ill effect. In other cases, the boyfriend intentionally led the girlfriend along so she would break her ankle. The subjects used a seven point scale -- one being forbidden and seven completely permissible -- to record whether they through the situation was morally acceptable or not.

While the subjects read the story, the scientists applied a magnetic field using a method known as transcranial magnetic stimulation. The magnetic fields created confusion in the neurons that make up the RTPJ, said Young, causing them to fire off electrical pulses chaotically.

Link via Alphecca | Image: NASA

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This won't produce generalized effects (e.g. from living under electrical poles, or from depression treatment).

Specific area of the brain need to be targeted for specific effects to occur... much like electrodes in the brain...
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A TMS machine can generate a half Tesla or more of magnetic field (which is a lot) so it is unlikely anyone will have access to that much power. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is an FDA approved treatment for depression. I wonder if the companies realize this side effect?
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Next thing you know, magnets are going to be known as the cause for "bi-polar" personality disorder because of the name. Guilt by association? Sure, why not.
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Are people surprised that morality was altered or that any brain function was affected? It is well known that brain trauma or electrical stimulation can profoundly alter normal thinking. It would be surprising if there was no effect.
They are using very powerful AC magnetic fields. the magnetism induces a electric current in the targeted area. What is surprising is that they got volunteers to submit to what amounts to having electrodes implanted in their brains.
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