Limits...
Neural circuits in the brain that are activated when mitigating criminal sentences.

Yamada M, Camerer CF, Fujie S, Kato M, Matsuda T, Takano H, Ito H, Suhara T, Takahashi H - Nat Commun (2012)

Bottom Line: We found that sympathy activated regions associated with mentalising and moral conflict (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus and temporo-parietal junction).Individual differences on the inclination to mitigate, the sentence reduction per unit of judged sympathy, correlated with activity in the right middle insula, an area known to represent interoception of visceral states.These results could help the legal system understand how potential jurors actually decide, and contribute to growing knowledge about whether emotion and cognition are integrated sensibly in difficult judgments.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, Molecular Imaging Center, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, 4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8555, Japan. myamada@nirs.go.jp

ABSTRACT
In sentencing guilty defendants, jurors and judges weigh 'mitigating circumstances', which create sympathy for a defendant. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure neural activity in ordinary citizens who are potential jurors, as they decide on mitigation of punishment for murder. We found that sympathy activated regions associated with mentalising and moral conflict (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus and temporo-parietal junction). Sentencing also activated precuneus and anterior cingulate cortex, suggesting that mitigation is based on negative affective responses to murder, sympathy for mitigating circumstances and cognitive control to choose numerical punishments. Individual differences on the inclination to mitigate, the sentence reduction per unit of judged sympathy, correlated with activity in the right middle insula, an area known to represent interoception of visceral states. These results could help the legal system understand how potential jurors actually decide, and contribute to growing knowledge about whether emotion and cognition are integrated sensibly in difficult judgments.

Show MeSH
Brain regions activated during trial-by-trial sympathy and punishment reduction.Regions in which activity correlated with parametric regressors of increasing sympathy (green) and reduced punishment (red). Common areas were found in precuneus (yellow). The image is shown at P<0.001 (uncorrected; n = 22, one-sample t-tests).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3316876&req=5

f2: Brain regions activated during trial-by-trial sympathy and punishment reduction.Regions in which activity correlated with parametric regressors of increasing sympathy (green) and reduced punishment (red). Common areas were found in precuneus (yellow). The image is shown at P<0.001 (uncorrected; n = 22, one-sample t-tests).

Mentions: We then searched for brain regions that responded, during the description, to the subjects' trial-by-trial ratings of sympathy and their amounts of punishment reduction. Activity in precuneus, DMPFC and left TPJ were correlated with sympathy (P<0.05, small-volume-corrected, Fig. 2, Supplementary Table S1). Signal increase in precuneus and DMPFC were also associated with the reduction of punishment (P<0.05, small-volume-corrected, Fig. 2: note that a small TPJ region was also activated in sentence reduction, but only with k=6 voxels). Thus, precuneus and DMPFC were commonly activated by both sympathy and reduction of punishment. Sentence reduction was also associated with activity in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). All regions showing a whole-brain correlation at P<0.001 are listed in Supplementary Tables S1 and S2.


Neural circuits in the brain that are activated when mitigating criminal sentences.

Yamada M, Camerer CF, Fujie S, Kato M, Matsuda T, Takano H, Ito H, Suhara T, Takahashi H - Nat Commun (2012)

Brain regions activated during trial-by-trial sympathy and punishment reduction.Regions in which activity correlated with parametric regressors of increasing sympathy (green) and reduced punishment (red). Common areas were found in precuneus (yellow). The image is shown at P<0.001 (uncorrected; n = 22, one-sample t-tests).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3316876&req=5

f2: Brain regions activated during trial-by-trial sympathy and punishment reduction.Regions in which activity correlated with parametric regressors of increasing sympathy (green) and reduced punishment (red). Common areas were found in precuneus (yellow). The image is shown at P<0.001 (uncorrected; n = 22, one-sample t-tests).
Mentions: We then searched for brain regions that responded, during the description, to the subjects' trial-by-trial ratings of sympathy and their amounts of punishment reduction. Activity in precuneus, DMPFC and left TPJ were correlated with sympathy (P<0.05, small-volume-corrected, Fig. 2, Supplementary Table S1). Signal increase in precuneus and DMPFC were also associated with the reduction of punishment (P<0.05, small-volume-corrected, Fig. 2: note that a small TPJ region was also activated in sentence reduction, but only with k=6 voxels). Thus, precuneus and DMPFC were commonly activated by both sympathy and reduction of punishment. Sentence reduction was also associated with activity in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). All regions showing a whole-brain correlation at P<0.001 are listed in Supplementary Tables S1 and S2.

Bottom Line: We found that sympathy activated regions associated with mentalising and moral conflict (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus and temporo-parietal junction).Individual differences on the inclination to mitigate, the sentence reduction per unit of judged sympathy, correlated with activity in the right middle insula, an area known to represent interoception of visceral states.These results could help the legal system understand how potential jurors actually decide, and contribute to growing knowledge about whether emotion and cognition are integrated sensibly in difficult judgments.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Molecular Neuroimaging, Molecular Imaging Center, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, 4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8555, Japan. myamada@nirs.go.jp

ABSTRACT
In sentencing guilty defendants, jurors and judges weigh 'mitigating circumstances', which create sympathy for a defendant. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure neural activity in ordinary citizens who are potential jurors, as they decide on mitigation of punishment for murder. We found that sympathy activated regions associated with mentalising and moral conflict (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, precuneus and temporo-parietal junction). Sentencing also activated precuneus and anterior cingulate cortex, suggesting that mitigation is based on negative affective responses to murder, sympathy for mitigating circumstances and cognitive control to choose numerical punishments. Individual differences on the inclination to mitigate, the sentence reduction per unit of judged sympathy, correlated with activity in the right middle insula, an area known to represent interoception of visceral states. These results could help the legal system understand how potential jurors actually decide, and contribute to growing knowledge about whether emotion and cognition are integrated sensibly in difficult judgments.

Show MeSH