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"An eye for an eye"? Neural correlates of retribution and forgiveness.

Brüne M, Juckel G, Enzi B - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Neuroimaging studies suggest that punishing unfairness is associated with the activation of a neural network comprising the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, the ventral striatum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC).A substantial number of subjects did not retaliate.Neurally, this "forgiveness" behaviour was associated with the activation of the right (and to a lesser degree left) DLPFC, a region that serves as a cognitive control region and thus may be involved in inhibiting emotional responses against unfairness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, Landschaftsverband Westfalen Lippe University Hospital, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany. martin.bruene@rub.de

ABSTRACT
Humans have evolved strong preferences for equity and fairness. Neuroimaging studies suggest that punishing unfairness is associated with the activation of a neural network comprising the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, the ventral striatum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Here, we report the neuronal correlates of retribution and "forgiveness" in a scenario, in which individuals first acted as a recipient in an Ultimatum Game, and subsequently assumed the position of a proposer in a Dictator Game played against the same opponents as in the Ultimatum Game. Most subjects responded in a tit-for-tat fashion, which was accompanied by activation of the ventral striatum, corroborating previous findings that punishing unfair behaviour has a rewarding connotation. Subjects distinguished between the human opponent and computer condition by activation of the ventromedial PFC in the human condition, indicative of mentalising. A substantial number of subjects did not retaliate. Neurally, this "forgiveness" behaviour was associated with the activation of the right (and to a lesser degree left) DLPFC, a region that serves as a cognitive control region and thus may be involved in inhibiting emotional responses against unfairness.

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Statistical parametric maps for the contrast [ultimatum game: main effect of human opponent fair + unfair] in healthy subjects (n = 29).Only activations with t > 3.4 were displayed; Coordinates are given in MNI-space.
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pone-0073519-g003: Statistical parametric maps for the contrast [ultimatum game: main effect of human opponent fair + unfair] in healthy subjects (n = 29).Only activations with t > 3.4 were displayed; Coordinates are given in MNI-space.

Mentions: We first investigated the activation pattern associated with the UG. The contrast [UG: main effect of human opponent fair + unfair] showed a consistent set of regions associated with fair and unfair offers, e.g. the right ventral striatum, the bilateral anterior insula, the bilateral DLPFC, and the retrosplenial cortex (Table 1; Figure 3). The contrast ‘UG: positive interaction opponent x performance’ revealed significant activations in the right (MNI: 15, 11, 1) and left ventral striatum (MNI: -15, 8, 4), the right (MNI: 9, 53, 16) and left (MNI: -6, 62, 13) ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), and the right insula (Table 1). All activations survived a voxel-wise family-wise error correction with p < 0.05 for an extent k > 10 voxel after Small Volume Correction.


"An eye for an eye"? Neural correlates of retribution and forgiveness.

Brüne M, Juckel G, Enzi B - PLoS ONE (2013)

Statistical parametric maps for the contrast [ultimatum game: main effect of human opponent fair + unfair] in healthy subjects (n = 29).Only activations with t > 3.4 were displayed; Coordinates are given in MNI-space.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3756996&req=5

pone-0073519-g003: Statistical parametric maps for the contrast [ultimatum game: main effect of human opponent fair + unfair] in healthy subjects (n = 29).Only activations with t > 3.4 were displayed; Coordinates are given in MNI-space.
Mentions: We first investigated the activation pattern associated with the UG. The contrast [UG: main effect of human opponent fair + unfair] showed a consistent set of regions associated with fair and unfair offers, e.g. the right ventral striatum, the bilateral anterior insula, the bilateral DLPFC, and the retrosplenial cortex (Table 1; Figure 3). The contrast ‘UG: positive interaction opponent x performance’ revealed significant activations in the right (MNI: 15, 11, 1) and left ventral striatum (MNI: -15, 8, 4), the right (MNI: 9, 53, 16) and left (MNI: -6, 62, 13) ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), and the right insula (Table 1). All activations survived a voxel-wise family-wise error correction with p < 0.05 for an extent k > 10 voxel after Small Volume Correction.

Bottom Line: Neuroimaging studies suggest that punishing unfairness is associated with the activation of a neural network comprising the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, the ventral striatum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC).A substantial number of subjects did not retaliate.Neurally, this "forgiveness" behaviour was associated with the activation of the right (and to a lesser degree left) DLPFC, a region that serves as a cognitive control region and thus may be involved in inhibiting emotional responses against unfairness.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Preventive Medicine, Landschaftsverband Westfalen Lippe University Hospital, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany. martin.bruene@rub.de

ABSTRACT
Humans have evolved strong preferences for equity and fairness. Neuroimaging studies suggest that punishing unfairness is associated with the activation of a neural network comprising the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, the ventral striatum, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Here, we report the neuronal correlates of retribution and "forgiveness" in a scenario, in which individuals first acted as a recipient in an Ultimatum Game, and subsequently assumed the position of a proposer in a Dictator Game played against the same opponents as in the Ultimatum Game. Most subjects responded in a tit-for-tat fashion, which was accompanied by activation of the ventral striatum, corroborating previous findings that punishing unfair behaviour has a rewarding connotation. Subjects distinguished between the human opponent and computer condition by activation of the ventromedial PFC in the human condition, indicative of mentalising. A substantial number of subjects did not retaliate. Neurally, this "forgiveness" behaviour was associated with the activation of the right (and to a lesser degree left) DLPFC, a region that serves as a cognitive control region and thus may be involved in inhibiting emotional responses against unfairness.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus