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Cathodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction Modulates the Use of Mitigating Circumstances during Moral Judgments.

Leloup L, Miletich DD, Andriet G, Vandermeeren Y, Samson D - Front Hum Neurosci (2016)

Bottom Line: In the current study, we found that tDCS specifically affected accidental harms but not attempted harms.Our pattern of results in the context of our experimental design can best be explained by a causal role of the rTPJ in processing the mitigating circumstances which reduce a protagonist's moral responsibility.We discuss these results in relation to the idea that the rTPJ may play multiple roles in moral cognition and in relation to methodological aspects related to the use of tDCS.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve Belgium.

ABSTRACT
Recently, a few transcranial magnetic stimulation or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) studies have shown that the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ) plays a causal role in moral reasoning especially in cases of accidental harms or attempted harms. The profile of results across studies is, however, not entirely consistent: sometimes the stimulation affects predominantly attempted harms while sometimes the stimulation affects predominantly accidental harms. We argue that such discrepancy could reflect different functional contributions of the rTPJ in moral judgments and that the chosen design parameters or stimulation method may differentially bring to light one or the other functional role of the rTPJ. In the current study, we found that tDCS specifically affected accidental harms but not attempted harms. Low cathodal stimulation of the rTPJ led to a marginally significant increase in the severity of judgments of accidental harms (Experiment 1) while higher cathodal current density led to a highly significant decrease in the severity of judgments of accidental harms (Experiment 2). Our pattern of results in the context of our experimental design can best be explained by a causal role of the rTPJ in processing the mitigating circumstances which reduce a protagonist's moral responsibility. We discuss these results in relation to the idea that the rTPJ may play multiple roles in moral cognition and in relation to methodological aspects related to the use of tDCS.

No MeSH data available.


Illustration of the tDCS protocol used in Experiments 1 and 2.
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Figure 1: Illustration of the tDCS protocol used in Experiments 1 and 2.

Mentions: The first block of vignettes was presented without any stimulation (baseline). There was then a 20-min break, with the first 10 min of the break used for the electrode montage and the next 10 min to start the tDCS stimulation. The second block of vignettes was then presented with only the first 10 min still under tDCS stimulation (anodal, cathodal, and sham; see Figure 1 for an illustration of the tDCS stimulation timing).


Cathodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction Modulates the Use of Mitigating Circumstances during Moral Judgments.

Leloup L, Miletich DD, Andriet G, Vandermeeren Y, Samson D - Front Hum Neurosci (2016)

Illustration of the tDCS protocol used in Experiments 1 and 2.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4940443&req=5

Figure 1: Illustration of the tDCS protocol used in Experiments 1 and 2.
Mentions: The first block of vignettes was presented without any stimulation (baseline). There was then a 20-min break, with the first 10 min of the break used for the electrode montage and the next 10 min to start the tDCS stimulation. The second block of vignettes was then presented with only the first 10 min still under tDCS stimulation (anodal, cathodal, and sham; see Figure 1 for an illustration of the tDCS stimulation timing).

Bottom Line: In the current study, we found that tDCS specifically affected accidental harms but not attempted harms.Our pattern of results in the context of our experimental design can best be explained by a causal role of the rTPJ in processing the mitigating circumstances which reduce a protagonist's moral responsibility.We discuss these results in relation to the idea that the rTPJ may play multiple roles in moral cognition and in relation to methodological aspects related to the use of tDCS.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve Belgium.

ABSTRACT
Recently, a few transcranial magnetic stimulation or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) studies have shown that the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ) plays a causal role in moral reasoning especially in cases of accidental harms or attempted harms. The profile of results across studies is, however, not entirely consistent: sometimes the stimulation affects predominantly attempted harms while sometimes the stimulation affects predominantly accidental harms. We argue that such discrepancy could reflect different functional contributions of the rTPJ in moral judgments and that the chosen design parameters or stimulation method may differentially bring to light one or the other functional role of the rTPJ. In the current study, we found that tDCS specifically affected accidental harms but not attempted harms. Low cathodal stimulation of the rTPJ led to a marginally significant increase in the severity of judgments of accidental harms (Experiment 1) while higher cathodal current density led to a highly significant decrease in the severity of judgments of accidental harms (Experiment 2). Our pattern of results in the context of our experimental design can best be explained by a causal role of the rTPJ in processing the mitigating circumstances which reduce a protagonist's moral responsibility. We discuss these results in relation to the idea that the rTPJ may play multiple roles in moral cognition and in relation to methodological aspects related to the use of tDCS.

No MeSH data available.