The neural basis of belief encoding and integration in moral judgment

TitleThe neural basis of belief encoding and integration in moral judgment
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsYoung, L., & Saxe R.
JournalNeuroImage
Volume40
Issue4
Pagination1912 - 1920
Date Published05/2008
ISSN10538119
Abstract

Moral judgment in the mature state depends on “theory of mind”, or the capacity to attribute mental states (e.g., beliefs, desires, and intentions) to moral agents. The current study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the cognitive processes for belief attribution in moral judgment. Participants read vignettes in a 2× 2× 2 design: protagonists produced either a negative or neutral outcome, based on the belief that they were causing the negative outcome or the neutral outcome; presentation of belief information either preceded or followed outcome information. In each case, participants judged the moral permissibility of the action. The results indicate that while the medial prefrontal cortex is recruited for processing belief valence, the temporo-parietal junction and precuneus are recruited for processing beliefs in moral judgment via two distinct component processes: (1) encoding beliefs and (2) integrating beliefs with other relevant features of the action (e.g., the outcome) for moral judgment.

URLhttp://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1053811908000876
DOI10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.01.057
Short TitleNeuroImage

Download: