Some thoughts I’d like to add:
First, I confirm my advanced degree of nerdiness when a full TED audience is listening and I’m the only person to laugh when he says: “I could do this experiment without learning neurosurgery”. Hello, people, he would have to cut into your brains!?
Second, include mirror neurons in the equation, and you’re closer to deciphering the biological mechanism that allows us to behave morally towards each other.
Third, just because it allows us, it doesn’t mean it will make us. And certainly not indiscriminately. Check Carsten de Dreu’s study on how oxytocin may promote human ethnocentrism.
Fourth, “5% of the population don’t release oxytocin on stimulus” – I wonder if that might be related to one possible etiology of sociopathy. Specially since just last month Levkowitz’s team published a paper stating that oxytocin participates in the formation of the neurohypophysis in the embryo (yeah, only in zebrafish for now, but there’s a reason they’re called “animal models”). If for some reason oxytocin is not doing its trick during fetal development, it’s no wonder their brains wind up wired differently. And how might that impact their mirror neuron systems and empathic capability? Never underestimate the power of (neuro)hormones!
Lastly, I’m definitely not getting my daily dosage of hugs. Since social media seem to also do the trick, maybe we should replace likes and stars for virtual hugs? So, if you’re reading this post and it doesn’t totally displease you, go ahead, send me a hug 😉