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

See all articles by Oriel FeldmanHall

Oriel FeldmanHall

Brown University Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences

Dean Mobbs

Columbia University

Tim Dalgleish

Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Medical Research Council

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

FeldmanHall, Oriel and Mobbs, Dean and Dalgleish, Tim, Deconstructing the Brains Moral Network: Dissociable Functionality between the Temporoparietal Junction and Ventro-Medial Prefrontal Cortex (2014). Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 9, p. 297-306, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896858

Oriel FeldmanHall (Contact Author)

Brown University Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences ( email )

190 Thayer St.
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Dean Mobbs

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Tim Dalgleish

Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Medical Research Council ( email )

15 Chaucer Road
Cambridge, CB2 7EF
United Kingdom

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