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Are You Good or Evil



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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: BBC
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 50 mins
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2011
Available in French: No

Do humans have an innate sense of morality? If so, where does it exist in the brain and how did it get there? In this film we meet the scientists trying to find a physical source behind our moral instincts.

Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, David Berkowitz – these men were notorious killers. But were they born bad? In the hunt for morality, the film takes a look inside the minds of criminals. Do their brains look the same as ours and is there such a thing as a natural born killer?
 
Brain scans of psychopaths suggest that they suffer from ‘defective moral hard-wiring’. The part of their brain that deals with emotions and impulses is abnormal, preventing them from feeling empathy and increasing the chances of them behaving in a violent manner.
 
So if you start out life with parts of your moral machinery broken, how likely are you to fulfil your psychotic destiny? We meet a scientist who can take the brain scan of a young child and, taking their upbringing into account, making a reasonable guess as to how likely they are to become criminal adults.
 
So what does a normal brain look like? The film takes a look at the brain scans of people undergoing a moral thought experiment. It turns out that the adult decision making process is actually the product of complex and conflicting emotional and rational activity in our brains.
 
Finally, find out how delicately balanced these conflicting parts of our brains are. Could ‘defective moral hard-wiring’ be used as a defence in court? And what would it take for things to fall out of balance in our ‘normal’ brains? Could we all become natural born killers?

DID YOU KNOW?
Psychopaths make up about 15-35% of US prisoners, but only 1% of the general population.