The neural basis of dishonest decisions that serve to harm or help the target

Nobuhito Abe, Toshikatsu Fujii, Ayahito Ito, Aya Ueno, Yuta Koseki, Ryusaku Hashimoto, Akiko Hayashi, Shunji Mugikura, Shoki Takahashi, Etsuro Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study to elucidate the neurocognitive mechanisms of harmful and helpful dishonest decisions. During scanning, the subjects read scenarios concerning events that could occur in real-life situations and were asked to decide whether to tell a lie as though they were experiencing those events. Half of the scenarios consisted of harmful stories in which the dishonest decisions could be regarded as bad lies, and the other half consisted of helpful stories in which the dishonest decisions could be regarded as good lies. In contrast to the control decision-making task, we found that the decision-making tasks that involved honesty or dishonesty recruited a network of brain regions that included the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In the harmful stories, the right temporoparietal junction and the right medial frontal cortex were activated when the subjects made dishonest decisions compared with honest decisions. No region discriminated between the honest and dishonest decisions made in the helpful stories. These preliminary findings suggest that the neural basis of dishonest decisions is modulated by whether the lying serves to harm or help the target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume90
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct

Keywords

  • Deception
  • Dishonesty
  • FMRI
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Temporoparietal junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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