Dissociable neural systems for moral judgment of anti- and pro-social lying
Brain research (Impact Factor: 2.84). 03/2014; 1556. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.02.011
Pro-social lying, which serves to benefit listeners, is considered more socially and morally acceptable than anti-social lying, which serves to harm listeners. However, it is still unclear whether the neural mechanisms underlying the moral judgment of pro-social lying differ from those underlying the moral judgment of anti-social lying. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural activities associated with moral judgment in anti- and pro-social lying. During fMRI scanning, subjects were provided with scenarios describing a protagonist's anti- and pro-social lying and were then asked to judge whether the protagonist's act was morally appropriate. The behavioral data showed that anti-social lying was mostly judged to be morally inappropriate and that pro-social lying was mainly judged to be morally appropriate. The functional imaging data revealed dissociable neural systems for moral judgment in anti- and pro-social lying. The anti-social lying, which was judged to be morally inappropriate, was associated with increased activity in the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex, right middle frontal gyrus, right precuneus/posterior cingulate gyrus, left posterior cingulate gyrus, and bilateral temporoparietal junction when compared with the control condition. The pro-social lying, which was judged to be morally appropriate, was associated with increased activity in the right middle temporal gyrus, right supramarginal gyrus, and the left middle cingulate gyrus when compared with the control condition. No overlapping activity was observed during the moral judgment of anti- and pro-social lying. Our data suggest that cognitive and neural processes for the moral judgment of lying are modulated by whether the lie serves to harm or benefit listeners.
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ABSTRACT: The goal of the present study was to investigate functional interactions between brain structures during deliberate deception. On the basis of the results obtained and literature data, the following hypothesis has been formulated: the functional interaction between the brain areas responsible for executive control of the behavior localized in the prefrontal cortex (inferior frontal gyrus) and elements of the error detection system of the brain underlie deliberate deception. This hypothesis has been tested using psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis, which has revealed that deceptive actions (in comparison to truthful ones) are related to an increased functional connectivity between the left caudate nucleus and left inferior frontal gyrus. The experimental data support our hypothesis that the interaction of the brain systems responsible for executive control and error detection underpins the brain maintenance of execution of deceptive actions.
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ABSTRACT: Moral sense is defined as a feeling of the rightness or wrongness of an action that knowingly causes harm to people other than the agent. The large amount of data collected over the past decade allows drawing some definite conclusions about the neurobiological foundations of moral reasoning as well as a systematic investigation of methodological variables during fMRI studies. Here, we verified the existence of converging and consistent evidence in the current literature by means of a meta-analysis of fMRI studies of moral reasoning, using activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis. We also tested for a possible neural segregation as function of the perspective used during moral reasoning i.e., first or third person perspectives. Results demonstrate the existence of a wide network of areas underpinning moral reasoning, including orbitofrontal cortex, insula, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex as well as precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex. Within this network we found a neural segregation as a function of the personal perspective, with 1PP eliciting higher activation in the bilateral insula and superior temporal gyrus as well as in the anterior cingulate cortex, lingual and fusiform gyri, middle temporal gyrus and precentral gyrus in the left hemisphere, and 3PP eliciting higher activation in the bilateral amygdala, the posterior cingulate cortex, insula and supramarginal gyrus in the left hemisphere as well as the medial and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere. These results shed some more light on the contribution of these areas to moral reasoning, strongly supporting a functional specialization as a function of the perspective used during moral reasoning.
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