There is a small area in the brain specifically dedicated to determining what other people are thinking. More than empathy and more than pattern recognition, the right temporoparietal junction is a tiny area responsible for processing a lot cues really fast.
Mind reading (and mind control) have long been the domain of evil Soviets and mad scientists, but it is something that every one of us does every day. When meeting a stranger, (say in a store) we gauge their demeanor before we speak and modulate our enthusiasm (or lack thereof accordingly). At a glance, with just a peek of a face whizzing by at 65mph we can “read the mind” of the driver that just cut us off to see if they’re an intentional jerk or thoughtless, uncaffeinated, bumbler.
We constantly judge the actions of others and ascribe moral values. Unintentional accidents are forgivable (usually), and nefarious deeds may cause resentments.
In her TED talk, Neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe shows us the evolution of moral attribution, and most frightening, how moral judgment can be impaired and compromised…at the click of magnetic interruption.
Tune in to see!