Poster Session C, Sunday, March 24, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Age-related and individual differences in neural substrates of moral decision making
Ting-Yu Liu1,2, Hsu-Wen Huang3, Chih-Mao Huang1,4; 1Department of Biological Science and Technology, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, 2Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, 3Department of Linguistics and Translation, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 4Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Moral decision-making is the unconscious and deliberate decision-making process to evaluate moral situation in a given scenario or identify moral permissibility of individual’s action. Several functional neuroimaging studies suggest a distributed network of frontal and parieto-temporal regions, including medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and temporoparietal junction (TPJ) associated with moral cognition. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we conducted a mixed block/event-related design to examine age-related and individual differences in neural substrates of moral decision making. Twenty-one young and forty-one healthy older participants were instructed to perform a modified version of moral evaluation task that make a good/bad evaluation of an intentional action after presenting a set of visual scene that depicts social interactions between individuals. A whole-brain analysis revealed that older adults exhibited neural activation in mPFC, ACC, and bilateral TPJ in which the brain regions have been associated with moral decision making. In addition, older adults showed greater and distributed activation in bilateral posterior parietal cortex, amygadala, and hippocampus, probably involving strategic retrieval processes of social decision making. These findings demonstrate age-related and individual variations in neural substrates related to moral cognition and social decision making.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making