The neural basis of implicit moral attitude-An IAT study using event-related fMRI

Qian Luo, Marina Nakic, Thalia Wheatley, Rebecca Richell, Alex Martin, Robert James Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent models of morality have suggested the importance of affect-based automatic moral attitudes in moral reasoning. However, previous investigations of moral reasoning have frequently relied upon explicit measures that are susceptible to voluntary control. To investigate participant's automatic moral attitudes, we used a morality Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants rated the legality of visually depicted legal and illegal behaviors of two different intensity levels (e.g., high intensity illegal = interpersonal violence; low intensity illegal = vandalism) both when the target concept (e.g., illegal) was behaviorally paired with an associated attribute (e.g., bad; congruent condition) or an unassociated attribute (e.g., good; incongruent condition). Behaviorally, an IAT effect was shown; RTs were faster in the congruent rather than incongruent conditions. At the neural level, implicit moral attitude, as indexed by increased BOLD response as a function of stimulus intensity, was associated with increased activation in the right amygdala and the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, performance on incongruent trials relative to congruent trials was associated with increased activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 47), left subgenual cingulate gyrus (BA 25), bilateral premotor cortex (BA 6) and the left caudate. The functional contributions of these regions in moral reasoning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1457
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroImage
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2006

Fingerprint

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Prefrontal Cortex
Gyrus Cinguli
Motor Cortex
Amygdala
Violence
Criminal Behavior

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Emotion
  • IAT
  • Medial OFC
  • Moral attitude
  • Ventrolateral PFC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

The neural basis of implicit moral attitude-An IAT study using event-related fMRI. / Luo, Qian; Nakic, Marina; Wheatley, Thalia; Richell, Rebecca; Martin, Alex; Blair, Robert James.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 30, No. 4, 01.05.2006, p. 1449-1457.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Luo, Qian ; Nakic, Marina ; Wheatley, Thalia ; Richell, Rebecca ; Martin, Alex ; Blair, Robert James. / The neural basis of implicit moral attitude-An IAT study using event-related fMRI. In: NeuroImage. 2006 ; Vol. 30, No. 4. pp. 1449-1457.
@article{50f6921e4db2433ca3f987ba5de55e60,
title = "The neural basis of implicit moral attitude-An IAT study using event-related fMRI",
abstract = "Recent models of morality have suggested the importance of affect-based automatic moral attitudes in moral reasoning. However, previous investigations of moral reasoning have frequently relied upon explicit measures that are susceptible to voluntary control. To investigate participant's automatic moral attitudes, we used a morality Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants rated the legality of visually depicted legal and illegal behaviors of two different intensity levels (e.g., high intensity illegal = interpersonal violence; low intensity illegal = vandalism) both when the target concept (e.g., illegal) was behaviorally paired with an associated attribute (e.g., bad; congruent condition) or an unassociated attribute (e.g., good; incongruent condition). Behaviorally, an IAT effect was shown; RTs were faster in the congruent rather than incongruent conditions. At the neural level, implicit moral attitude, as indexed by increased BOLD response as a function of stimulus intensity, was associated with increased activation in the right amygdala and the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, performance on incongruent trials relative to congruent trials was associated with increased activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 47), left subgenual cingulate gyrus (BA 25), bilateral premotor cortex (BA 6) and the left caudate. The functional contributions of these regions in moral reasoning are discussed.",
keywords = "Amygdala, Emotion, IAT, Medial OFC, Moral attitude, Ventrolateral PFC",
author = "Qian Luo and Marina Nakic and Thalia Wheatley and Rebecca Richell and Alex Martin and Blair, {Robert James}",
year = "2006",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.11.005",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "30",
pages = "1449--1457",
journal = "NeuroImage",
issn = "1053-8119",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The neural basis of implicit moral attitude-An IAT study using event-related fMRI

AU - Luo, Qian

AU - Nakic, Marina

AU - Wheatley, Thalia

AU - Richell, Rebecca

AU - Martin, Alex

AU - Blair, Robert James

PY - 2006/5/1

Y1 - 2006/5/1

N2 - Recent models of morality have suggested the importance of affect-based automatic moral attitudes in moral reasoning. However, previous investigations of moral reasoning have frequently relied upon explicit measures that are susceptible to voluntary control. To investigate participant's automatic moral attitudes, we used a morality Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants rated the legality of visually depicted legal and illegal behaviors of two different intensity levels (e.g., high intensity illegal = interpersonal violence; low intensity illegal = vandalism) both when the target concept (e.g., illegal) was behaviorally paired with an associated attribute (e.g., bad; congruent condition) or an unassociated attribute (e.g., good; incongruent condition). Behaviorally, an IAT effect was shown; RTs were faster in the congruent rather than incongruent conditions. At the neural level, implicit moral attitude, as indexed by increased BOLD response as a function of stimulus intensity, was associated with increased activation in the right amygdala and the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, performance on incongruent trials relative to congruent trials was associated with increased activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 47), left subgenual cingulate gyrus (BA 25), bilateral premotor cortex (BA 6) and the left caudate. The functional contributions of these regions in moral reasoning are discussed.

AB - Recent models of morality have suggested the importance of affect-based automatic moral attitudes in moral reasoning. However, previous investigations of moral reasoning have frequently relied upon explicit measures that are susceptible to voluntary control. To investigate participant's automatic moral attitudes, we used a morality Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants rated the legality of visually depicted legal and illegal behaviors of two different intensity levels (e.g., high intensity illegal = interpersonal violence; low intensity illegal = vandalism) both when the target concept (e.g., illegal) was behaviorally paired with an associated attribute (e.g., bad; congruent condition) or an unassociated attribute (e.g., good; incongruent condition). Behaviorally, an IAT effect was shown; RTs were faster in the congruent rather than incongruent conditions. At the neural level, implicit moral attitude, as indexed by increased BOLD response as a function of stimulus intensity, was associated with increased activation in the right amygdala and the ventromedial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, performance on incongruent trials relative to congruent trials was associated with increased activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 47), left subgenual cingulate gyrus (BA 25), bilateral premotor cortex (BA 6) and the left caudate. The functional contributions of these regions in moral reasoning are discussed.

KW - Amygdala

KW - Emotion

KW - IAT

KW - Medial OFC

KW - Moral attitude

KW - Ventrolateral PFC

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33646470423&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33646470423&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.11.005

DO - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.11.005

M3 - Article

VL - 30

SP - 1449

EP - 1457

JO - NeuroImage

JF - NeuroImage

SN - 1053-8119

IS - 4

ER -