Jorge Moll – Brazilian Neuroscience Pioneer

Jorge Moll, MD, PhD, is the founder and the current President of the D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR), established in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Moll is well known among the public for founding a network to improve hospital services, at an affordable rate. He is better known in the medical community for his groundbreaking work with the brain.

Curious Minds

Moll, a Neurologist, concentrates primarily on the psychological and neural mechanisms which dictate human choices and how they are molded by a person’s morals and values. Moll is credited with being the first neuroscientist to tie together the relationship between the act of giving and the brain. He discovered that the brain reacted in the same manner as eating, as it did when an individual committed a charitable act. Moll examined multiple parts of the brain at the same time, which is a rather unique approach, as most brain studies focus on one specific portion of the brain at one time.

Moll’s research has since continued to focus on using brain scans to understand altruism’s impact on the brain and to learn to help people increase their levels of empathy. Not only does this help people to become more empathetic, but Moll believes this also helps people to become happier and healthier, and reduces their risk of disease and heart attack.

Still, the primary end goal is to train people to become more empathetic, something many people struggle with. But Moll believes there also may be potential to help those who struggle with mental illness, such as postpartum depression, develop or just regain the ability to empathize with others.

There is also some potential for work to be done with those who suffer from autism, which is characterized by an individual’s inability to empathize with others ( Moll has also said he would like to eventually expand the study to include psychopaths, who have a complete lack of empathy for others, which would truly be the ultimate test.


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