Deconstructing the Brains Moral Network: Dissociable Functionality between the Temporoparietal Junction and Ventro-Medial Prefrontal Cortex
Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 9, p. 297-306, 2014
10 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2014
Research has illustrated that the brain regions implicated in moral cognition comprise a robust and broadly distributed network. However, understanding how these brain regions interact and give rise to the complex interplay of cognitive processes underpinning human moral cognition is still in its infancy. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine patterns of activation for difficult and easy moral decisions relative to matched non-moral comparators. This revealed an activation pattern consistent with a relative functional double dissociation between the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Difficult moral decisions activated bilateral TPJ and deactivated the vmPFC and OFC. In contrast, easy moral decisions revealed patterns of activation in the vmPFC and deactivation in bilateral TPJ and dorsolateral PFC. Together these results suggest that moral cognition is a dynamic process implemented by a distributed network that involves interacting, yet functionally dissociable networks.
Keywords: fMRI; Moral; TPJ; vmPFC
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