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Surprising Science

Magnetic Fields Spook the Brain

Summarizing a breadth of research on how magnetic fields affect the brain, it is clear that our body’s most advanced organ responds in wild, wonderful and sometimes tragic ways. 

What’s the Latest Development?

The breadth of scientific research done into how the brain responds to magnetic fields shows that our body’s most advanced organ is highly dynamic, sometimes reacting wonderfully, sometimes tragically, to magnetic fields. “Scientists have found that brains subjected to regular transcranial electromagnetic stimulation for only five days showed an increase in stem cells in the hippocampus.” This is the part of the brain that governs memory so electromagnetic stimulation might one day treat Alzheimer’s disease. 

What’s the Big Idea?

It seems that some characteristics we assume to be the most stable, such as an individual’s moral sensibility, are highly determined by the functioning of specific brain regions. These regions can be altered by exposure to electromagnets. In an experiment, individuals with a magnetic field around their brain were more likely to reason like consequentialists when faced with a moral dilemma. In other words, they considered the results of an action as more important than moral correctness of the action itself. 


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