Nature vs. Nurture: –

Is this a religiosity, a function of environment of how we are brought up, or as many neuroscientists now believe that it is a function or reflection of brain ac- tivity. In other words we are hard wired for GOD.

The relationship between brain chemistry and consciousness is one that, in the neuroscience age, is hard to get away from. As neurobiologists have deepened our understanding of the powerful neuro-chemicals that underlie our moods and motivations, words like adrenaline, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin have become part of our vernacular. And for those who have spent any time studying the field, it has become increasingly difficult not to think of human behavior in chemical terms.

Discovering the biological basis of speech and perception is, however, just the beginning. With experimental methodologies improving by the month, even the more complex aspects of our experience, such as emotion, reason, motiva- tion, and will, are beginning to give up their secrets. In Mapping the Mind,science journalist Rita Carter writes: “It is now possible to locate and observe the mechanics of rage, violence, and misperception, and even to detect the physical signs of complex qualities of mind like kindness, humor, heartlessness, gregariousness, altruism, mother-love, and self-awareness.”

The profound implications of these findings are not lost on the neuroscience community. Indeed, one of the more interesting new areas of discussion is what has become known as neuron-ethics. According to psychologist Martha Farah, brain imaging in particular has opened up an ethical can of worms with its un- precedented ability to peer into the previously private reaches of the individual mind. For instance, with neuroimaging, it has now become possible to tell when someone is being deceitful, or even when he or she is deceiving him or her. Enter lie-detection 3.0. Scientists can also discern whether someone was involved in a crime by showing them objects from the crime scene and seeing how their brain responds. Welcome to the new forensics, as marketed by Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories, Inc. It is even possible to tell whether someone is an illegal drug user by showing them photos of drug paraphernalia and see- ing whether the brain enters a “craving state.” Meet the new war on drugs.

Then there is what Farah refers to as “brain typing.” Using these same methodologies, neuroscientists can now look behind the scenes of your per- sona and find out what sort of human being you really are. Do you secretly harbor racial prejudices? By watching your brain while you look at pictures of racially diverse faces, brain scanners can provide an answer. How about sexual preferences? By showing you a variety of erotic imagery, we can see who or what turns you (or your brain) on. (And don’t bother trying to suppress your response. Your brain looks different when you do that too.) Are you a risk-taker? A pessimist? An introvert? Neurotic? Persistent? Empathic? Even such core personality traits as these are now laid bare before the new neuron-interrogation.