Poster F14, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Believing, Desiring, or Just Thinking About: Toward a Neuroscientific Account of Propositional Attitudes
Regan Bernhard1, Steven Frankland1, Joshua Greene1; 1Harvard University
How does our brain appropriately connect an attitude, such as believing or desiring, to the state of the world to which the attitude relates? Here we use fMRI to identify brain regions that contain information about a set of object-location combinations, as well as regions associated with believing, desiring, or merely thinking about those combinations. We find increased activation in dissociable regions when participants have a clear belief that an object is in a specific location but no desire for it to be there (e.g. right posterior parietal cortex) versus when they have a desire for the object to be in the same location, but no specific belief about where the object actually is (e.g. portions of the default mode network). We find increased activation in a third set of regions (e.g. right inferior frontal gyrus) when participants are asked to think about the same object-location combination without wanting the object to be in that location, nor having any belief about where the object may actually be. Finally we find that believing, desiring, or merely thinking about an object-location combination affects the pattern of neural activity associated with the representation of the object being entertained. We find better object decodability in the left putamen and medial frontal gyrus (among others) when the object is a constituent of a combination that is being desired but better object decodability in the right posterior superior temporal gyrus (among others) when the object is a constituent of a combination that is being believed.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions