An fMRI study of intentional and unintentional (embarrassing) violations of social norms

S. Berthoz, J. L. Armony, R. J.R. Blair, R. J. Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

303 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this investigation was to identify neural systems supporting the processing of intentional and unintentional transgressions of social norms. Using event-related fMRI, we addressed this question by comparing neural responses to stories describing normal behaviour, embarrassing situations or violations of social norms. Processing transgressions of social norms involved systems previously reported to play a role in representing the mental states of others, namely medial prefrontal and temporal regions. In addition, the processing of transgressions of social norms involved systems previously found to respond to aversive emotional expressions (in particular angry expressions); namely lateral orbitofrontal cortex (Brodmann area 47) and medial prefrontal cortex. The observed responses were similar for both intentional and unintentional social norm violations, albeit more pronounced for the intentional norm violations. These data suggest that social behavioural problems in patients with frontal lobe lesions or fronto-temporal dementia may be a consequence of dysfunction within the systems identified in light of their possible role in processing whether particular social behaviours are, or are not, appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1696-1708
Number of pages13
JournalBrain
Volume125
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 26 2002

Fingerprint

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Prefrontal Cortex
Social Behavior
Social Problems
Frontal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Dementia
Social Norms
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Violations
Transgression

Keywords

  • Embarrassment
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Social norm violations
  • Theory of Mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Berthoz, S., Armony, J. L., Blair, R. J. R., & Dolan, R. J. (2002). An fMRI study of intentional and unintentional (embarrassing) violations of social norms. Brain, 125(8), 1696-1708.

An fMRI study of intentional and unintentional (embarrassing) violations of social norms. / Berthoz, S.; Armony, J. L.; Blair, R. J.R.; Dolan, R. J.

In: Brain, Vol. 125, No. 8, 26.08.2002, p. 1696-1708.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Berthoz, S, Armony, JL, Blair, RJR & Dolan, RJ 2002, 'An fMRI study of intentional and unintentional (embarrassing) violations of social norms', Brain, vol. 125, no. 8, pp. 1696-1708.
Berthoz, S. ; Armony, J. L. ; Blair, R. J.R. ; Dolan, R. J. / An fMRI study of intentional and unintentional (embarrassing) violations of social norms. In: Brain. 2002 ; Vol. 125, No. 8. pp. 1696-1708.
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