Morality is malleable, according to much research Our judgment calls change depending on a host of factors—our mind-set, how hungry we are, whether we feel clean or dirty, the ambient air temperature, and the list goes on. Drugs that affect brain chemistry can alter moral decision making, too, a growing body of work outlined below has found. For now scientists are using these common psychiatric drugs as tools to understand the brain mechanisms underlying morality. Some hope one day to develop a pharmaceutical remedy for dangerous or harmful behavior.

Researchers conduct the studies on healthy individuals; the results do not necessarily mean that patients who have prescriptions for these drugs are experiencing these moral modifications. Their underlying brain chemistry might be different. As the number of people taking the drugs rises, however, it is important to consider that there may be unexpected side effects.