Dr. Jordan GrafmanThe Washington Post article If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might Be Only Natural said
The e-mail came from the next room.
“You gotta see this!” Jorge Moll had written. Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health, had been scanning the brains of volunteers as they were asked to think about a scenario involving either donating a sum of money to charity or keeping it for themselves.
As Grafman read the e-mail, Moll came bursting in. The scientists stared at each other. Grafman was thinking, “Whoa wait a minute!”
The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.
Jordan Grafman, Ph.D., FAPA is
Chief, Cognitive Neuroscience Section, at the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Jordan earned his B.A. degree from Sonoma State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Immediately following his graduation, he became the Neuropsychology Chief on the Vietnam Head Injury Study, a multidisciplinary study conducted at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. In 1986, he joined the NINDS as a Senior Staff Fellow in the Clinical Neuropsychology Section. In 1989, he became Chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section in the NINDS.
He is an elected fellow of the American Psychological Association and has received both the Defense Meritorious Service Award and the National Institutes of Health Award of Merit. His Section is attempting to identify the nature of representational knowledge stored in the human prefrontal cortex, the cognitive properties of representational binding that form episodes in memory, and the types of cognitive neuroplasticity that occur during learning and recovery from brain damage.
Jordan coedited The Frontal Lobes: Development, Function and Pathology (Series for the International Neuropsychological Society), Cerebral Reorganization of Function after Brain Damage, Handbook of Neuropsychology, 2nd Edition : Language and Aphasia, Neurobehavioral Recovery from Head Injury, Structure and Functions of the Human Prefrontal Cortex (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences), Handbook of Neuropsychology, 2nd Edition : Aging and Dementia, Handbook of Neuropsychology, 2nd Edition : Emotional Behavior and Its Disorders, and Atypical Cognitive Deficits in Developmental Disorders: Implications for Brain Function.
Jordan coauthored The neural basis of human moral cognition, Psychological Structure and Neural Correlates of Event Knowledge, Event Frequency Modulates the Processing of Daily Life Activities in Human Medial Prefrontal Cortex, Neural correlates of automatic beliefs about gender and race, Social concepts are represented in the superior anterior temporal cortex, Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation, and Human Prefrontal Cortex: processing and representational perspectives.