Does identifying areas of the brain that are activated by certain feelings or actions give us more insight into human behavior? And if a behavior seems to reside in an area of the brain, does this mean the brain is hard-wired for that behavior and we humans are not exercising free will when we make choices?
I don’t think so, however the media keep churning out articles implying that a person’s choice to behave in a certain way is really no choice at all, but rather is the result of brain hard-wiring. This presents us with a cause-and-effect dilemma: Does a hard-wired brain make us behave in a certain fashion or is our behavior independent of brain localization?
One good example of this cause-and-effect dilemma is found in an article by Elizabeth Svoboda in The Wall Street Journal of Saturday/Sunday, Aug. 31 and September 1, 2013 titled “Hard-Wired for Giving.” The headline states that scientists have identified the precise brain circuits behind our urge to give, and this helps us to understand the motivation for giving behavior.