Hollywood actress Sharon Stone hit the headlines recently, following her remarks that the massive earthquake which struck south-west China on May 12th could have occurred as a result of “bad karma” produced by Beijing’s policy towards Tibet.
Now, according to LA Times celebrity gossip blog The Dish Rag, animal rights group PETA has offered Stone a free brain scan to determine whether her apparent lack of empathy can be attributed to frontal lobe damage.
In a letter addressed to the actress, dated July 1st, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk writes:
Scientific studies suggest that the prefrontal regions of the brains of people who lack empathy might be underdeveloped. Here’s our offer: Would you allow PETA to pay for a scan of the prefrontal region of your brain to determine if comments and actions that seem to demonstrate a lack of empathy are the result of a physical defect?
You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to understand that the suffering endured by animals in the fur industry is supported by your desire to to deck yourself out in fur. The type of thinking that would allow a perhaps otherwise intelligent woman to deny the cruel consequences of her actions can be established through a brain scan.
Although this is quite obviously a publicity stunt, it is backed up by scientific data. John Harlow’s 1848 report of Phineas Gage demonstrated that the frontal lobes are involved in social cognition, and a number of studies published in recent years do indeed suggest that patients with damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex have impaired moral decision-making skills and diminished feelings of empathy, embarrassment and guilt.
PETA’s letter and Stone’s “earthquake karma” interview are below.