Very interesting article, and an important area of research.
A point I would make with regard to this interesting area of the brain; is that with research, we will almost certainly find that our judgments about culpability are almost certainly subject to intentional and systematic inaccuracy. As human beings, we believe things which are not true, we are evolved to believe things which are not true. The result of evolution is a mind that leads to personal survive, and the benefit of society, not a dangerous adherence to the truth. We know that we all have beliefs about other people's culpability that are not true, but the research could reveal useful patterns in this inaccuracy.
Deborah , Calgary AB 06/15/10
your comment, Steve
Good questions Steve, thank you. Two quick thoughts.
As I mentioned in the article, we ask juries to make this discernment about guilt and intention all the time. Like most processes, it has strengths and weaknesses.
Also, the questions you raise might be culturally specific. Punishment and restitution have deep cultural roots.
Thanks for your comment.
Steve , Arlington TX 06/15/10
Theory of Mind.
Is it helpful to assist the participants to discern between "blame" and "responsibililty"? And if so how is the "brain" changed by this discernment?
We are often judged not by our intentions but by the consequences of our actions - Fred Thompson
We may be responsible for the consequences of our actions but without "intention" are we to "blame"? In the case of a killing, regardless of intention the person is dead. Manslaughter or negligent homicide if not intended, murder if intended but, intent or not, unless self defense, killing seems to be punished. What role does the "brain" issue play?
It seems the issue is about whether/how much to punish or the amount of restitution that may be necessary to "right" the adverse consequences.