Breakdown in the brain network subserving moral judgment in criminal psychopathy

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Publication Details

Author list: Soriano-Mas C
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy C - Option D / Oxford University Press
Publication year: 2012
Journal: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (1749-5016)
Volume number: 7
Issue number: 8
Start page: 917
End page: 923
Number of pages: 7
ISSN: 1749-5016
eISSN: 1749-5024
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


Abstract

Neuroimaging research has demonstrated the involvement of a well-defined
brain network in the mediation of moral judgment in normal population,
and has suggested the inappropriate network use in criminal psychopathy.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to prove that
alterations in the brain network subserving moral judgment in criminal
psychopaths are not limited to the inadequate network use during moral
judgment, but that a primary network breakdown would exist with
dysfunctional alterations outside moral dilemma situations. A total of
22 criminal psychopathic men and 22 control subjects were assessed and
fMRI maps were generated to identify (i) brain response to moral
dilemmas, (ii) task-induced deactivation of the network during a
conventional cognitive task and (iii) the strength of functional
connectivity within the network during resting-state. The obtained
functional brain maps indeed confirmed that the network subserving moral
judgment is underactive in psychopathic individuals during moral
dilemma situations, but the data also provided evidence of a baseline
network alteration outside moral contexts with a functional
disconnection between emotional and cognitive elements that jointly
construct moral judgment. The finding may have significant social
implications if considering psychopathic behavior to be a result of a
primary breakdown in basic brain systems.


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Last updated on 2019-13-08 at 00:45