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Neuroanatomical correlates of forgiving unintentional harms

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Mature moral judgments rely on the consideration of a perpetrator’s mental state as well as harmfulness of the outcomes produced. Prior work has focused primarily on the functional correlates of how intent information is neurally represented for moral judgments, but few studies have investigated whether individual differences in neuroanatomy can also explain variation in moral judgments. In the current study, we conducted voxel-based morphometry analyses to address this question. We found that local grey matter volume in the left anterior superior temporal sulcus, a region in the functionally defined theory of mind or mentalizing network, was associated with the degree to which participants relied on information about innocent intentions to forgive accidental harms. Our findings provide further support for the key role of mentalizing in the forgiveness of accidental harms and contribute preliminary evidence for the neuroanatomical basis of individual differences in moral judgments.

No MeSH data available.


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VBM results.(a) VBM result for accidental harm condition at group random effects analysis. Maps are thresholded at p(uncorrected) <0.001, k > 10, for illustrative purposes. The left anterior superior temporal sulcus (l-aSTS) is highlighted in the blue circle. The color bar denotes t-values. (b) A scatter plot illustrating the negative linear association between the grey matter volume (GMV) in l-aSTS (ρ(47) = −0.547, 95% CI [−0.726, −0.296], p < 0.001, n = 49, two-tailed) and the severity of moral condemnation of accidental harm, accounting for nuisance variables. The solid lines indicate a linear fit to the data, while the curved lines represent mean 95% confidence intervals for these lines. Extracted grey matter volume data presented in figures are non-independent of the statistical test used to find effect at this region and thus should not be used for effect-size estimates97. They are included here only as a visual aid for interpretation of results. Abbreviation - VBM: voxel-based morphometry.
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f3: VBM results.(a) VBM result for accidental harm condition at group random effects analysis. Maps are thresholded at p(uncorrected) <0.001, k > 10, for illustrative purposes. The left anterior superior temporal sulcus (l-aSTS) is highlighted in the blue circle. The color bar denotes t-values. (b) A scatter plot illustrating the negative linear association between the grey matter volume (GMV) in l-aSTS (ρ(47) = −0.547, 95% CI [−0.726, −0.296], p < 0.001, n = 49, two-tailed) and the severity of moral condemnation of accidental harm, accounting for nuisance variables. The solid lines indicate a linear fit to the data, while the curved lines represent mean 95% confidence intervals for these lines. Extracted grey matter volume data presented in figures are non-independent of the statistical test used to find effect at this region and thus should not be used for effect-size estimates97. They are included here only as a visual aid for interpretation of results. Abbreviation - VBM: voxel-based morphometry.

Mentions: Regression analyses revealed that more severe moral condemnation for accidental harm was associated with reduced GMV in left (x = −62, y = −12, z = −12; β = −0.0252, TFCE = 13.26; k = 202; p(FWE-corrected) = 0.002) anterior STS (aSTS) (see Fig. 3). Note that although we refer to this region here as aSTS616263, other studies have also referred to the same region with the anatomical label “middle temporal gyrus (MTG)”63564656667.


Neuroanatomical correlates of forgiving unintentional harms
VBM results.(a) VBM result for accidental harm condition at group random effects analysis. Maps are thresholded at p(uncorrected) <0.001, k > 10, for illustrative purposes. The left anterior superior temporal sulcus (l-aSTS) is highlighted in the blue circle. The color bar denotes t-values. (b) A scatter plot illustrating the negative linear association between the grey matter volume (GMV) in l-aSTS (ρ(47) = −0.547, 95% CI [−0.726, −0.296], p < 0.001, n = 49, two-tailed) and the severity of moral condemnation of accidental harm, accounting for nuisance variables. The solid lines indicate a linear fit to the data, while the curved lines represent mean 95% confidence intervals for these lines. Extracted grey matter volume data presented in figures are non-independent of the statistical test used to find effect at this region and thus should not be used for effect-size estimates97. They are included here only as a visual aid for interpretation of results. Abbreviation - VBM: voxel-based morphometry.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5382676&req=5

f3: VBM results.(a) VBM result for accidental harm condition at group random effects analysis. Maps are thresholded at p(uncorrected) <0.001, k > 10, for illustrative purposes. The left anterior superior temporal sulcus (l-aSTS) is highlighted in the blue circle. The color bar denotes t-values. (b) A scatter plot illustrating the negative linear association between the grey matter volume (GMV) in l-aSTS (ρ(47) = −0.547, 95% CI [−0.726, −0.296], p < 0.001, n = 49, two-tailed) and the severity of moral condemnation of accidental harm, accounting for nuisance variables. The solid lines indicate a linear fit to the data, while the curved lines represent mean 95% confidence intervals for these lines. Extracted grey matter volume data presented in figures are non-independent of the statistical test used to find effect at this region and thus should not be used for effect-size estimates97. They are included here only as a visual aid for interpretation of results. Abbreviation - VBM: voxel-based morphometry.
Mentions: Regression analyses revealed that more severe moral condemnation for accidental harm was associated with reduced GMV in left (x = −62, y = −12, z = −12; β = −0.0252, TFCE = 13.26; k = 202; p(FWE-corrected) = 0.002) anterior STS (aSTS) (see Fig. 3). Note that although we refer to this region here as aSTS616263, other studies have also referred to the same region with the anatomical label “middle temporal gyrus (MTG)”63564656667.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Mature moral judgments rely on the consideration of a perpetrator&rsquo;s mental state as well as harmfulness of the outcomes produced. Prior work has focused primarily on the functional correlates of how intent information is neurally represented for moral judgments, but few studies have investigated whether individual differences in neuroanatomy can also explain variation in moral judgments. In the current study, we conducted voxel-based morphometry analyses to address this question. We found that local grey matter volume in the left anterior superior temporal sulcus, a region in the functionally defined theory of mind or mentalizing network, was associated with the degree to which participants relied on information about innocent intentions to forgive accidental harms. Our findings provide further support for the key role of mentalizing in the forgiveness of accidental harms and contribute preliminary evidence for the neuroanatomical basis of individual differences in moral judgments.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus