Shocks to the brain may be the way to go to lower rates of crime, according to recent breakthrough research.
A brain region that helps people follow social norms has been identified by scientists.
They also found that neurons in this region can be controlled by transcranial direct current stimulation. This technique involves conveying weak, painless electric currents through the skull via electrodes on the scalp.
"We found the brain mechanism responsible for compliance with social norms is separate from the processes that represent one's knowledge and beliefs about the social norm. This could have important implications for the legal system as the ability to distinguish between right and wrong may not be sufficient for the ability to comply with social norms," said Economist Dr. Ernst Fehr, of the University of Zurich.
"We discovered the decision to follow the fairness norm, whether voluntarily or under threat of sanctions, can be directly influenced by neural stimulation in the prefrontal cortex. Our findings show a socially and evolutionarily important aspect of human behavior depends on a specific neural mechanism that can be both up and down regulated with brain stimulation," researcher Christian Ruff added.