Poster E107, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
A behavioral and neural study of motivations for deception
Anastasia Shuster1, Dino Levy1; 1Tel Aviv University
Deception plays a big part in social interactions, from mundane white lies up to multimillion dollar frauds. Previous studies showed that people incorporate into their decision the consequences of their lie on others, as well as their own gain. In this study, our objective was to identify the internal motivations that contribute to the decision to deceive, and outline their neural correlates. We used The Message Game task, in which a subject sends out either a profitable yet deceptive message or a truthful but not-as-profitable message to another participant. Payoffs varied across trials, in order to assess individual sensitivity to different motivations for deception. We defined three such potential motivations: Self Interest, Regard for Other, and Inequality. Thirty-three subjects completed the task, while inside an fMRI scanner. Behaviorally, we found that on average participants sent a deceitful message on half the trials. However, this behavior varied dramatically between subjects. Further subject-level analyses revealed high variability in motivations as well, both in which motivations drive the behavior and to what extent. On the neural level, we observed several regions implicated in the decision to deceive, including the amygdala and TPJ. Interestingly, we were able to identify motivation-specific regions of activation, modulated by how these motivations affected individual subjects’ behavior. Utilitarian considerations correlated with activity in the lateral PFC and insula, while other-oriented motivations involved activity in regions such as the STS and ACC. Finally, we show that the connectivity between these regions is associated with subjects’ behavior as well.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making