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Her subjects make selfish or pro-social moral choices. Together, these results

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Her subjects make selfish or pro-social moral choices. Together, these results reveal not only differential neural mechanisms for real and hypothetical moral decisions but also that the nature of real moral decisions can be predicted by dissociable networks within the PFC.Keywords: real moral decision-making; fMRI; amygdala; TPJ; ACCINTRODUCTION Psychology has a long tradition demonstrating a fundamental difference between how people believe they will act and how they actually act in the real world (Milgram, 1963; Higgins, 1987). Recent research (Ajzen et al., 2004; Kang et al., 2011; Teper et al., 2011) has confirmed this intention ehavior discrepancy, revealing that people inaccurately predict their future actions because hypothetical decision-making requires mental simulations that are abbreviated, unrepresentative and decontextualized (Gilbert and Wilson, 2007). This `hypothetical bias’ effect (Kang et al., 2011) has routinely demonstrated that the influence of socio-emotional factors and tangible risk (Wilson et al., 2000) is relatively diluted in hypothetical decisions: not only do hypothetical moral probes lack the tension engendered by competing, real-world emotional choices but also they fail to elicit expectations of consequencesboth of which are endemic to real moral reasoning (Krebs et al., 1997). In fact, research has shown that when real contextual pressures and their associated consequences come into play, people can behave in characteristically immoral ways (Baumgartner et al., 2009; Greene and Paxton, 2009). Although there is also important work examining the neural basis of the opposite RG7800 custom synthesis behavioral findingaltruistic decision-making (Moll et al., 2006)the neural networks underlying the conflicting motivation of maximizing self-gain at the expense of another are still poorly understood. Studying the neural architecture of this form of moral tension is particularly Oroxylin AMedChemExpress 6-Methoxybaicalein compelling because monetary incentives to behave immorally are pervasive throughout societypeople frequently cheat on their loved ones, steal from their employers or harm others for monetary gain. Moreover, we reasoned that any behavioral and neural disparities between real and hypothetical moral reasoning will likely have the sharpest focus when two fundamental proscriptionsdo not harm others and do not over-benefit the self at the expense of others (Haidt, 2007)are directly pitted against one another. In other words, we speculated that this prototypical moral conflict would provide an ideal test-bed to examine the behavioral and neural differences between intentions and actions.Received 18 April 2012; Accepted 8 June 2012 Advance Access publication 18 June 2012 Correspondence should be addressed to Oriel FeldmanHall, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK. E-mail: [email protected], we used a `your pain, my gain’ (PvG) laboratory task (Feldmanhall et al., 2012) to operationalize this core choice between personal advantage and another’s welfare: subjects were probed about their willingness to receive money (up to ?00) by physically harming (via electric stimulations) another subject (Figure 1A). The juxtaposition of these two conflicting motivations requires balancing selfish needs against the notion of `doing the right thing’ (Blair, 2007). We carried out a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment using the PvG task to first explore if real moral behavior mirrors hypothetical in.Her subjects make selfish or pro-social moral choices. Together, these results reveal not only differential neural mechanisms for real and hypothetical moral decisions but also that the nature of real moral decisions can be predicted by dissociable networks within the PFC.Keywords: real moral decision-making; fMRI; amygdala; TPJ; ACCINTRODUCTION Psychology has a long tradition demonstrating a fundamental difference between how people believe they will act and how they actually act in the real world (Milgram, 1963; Higgins, 1987). Recent research (Ajzen et al., 2004; Kang et al., 2011; Teper et al., 2011) has confirmed this intention ehavior discrepancy, revealing that people inaccurately predict their future actions because hypothetical decision-making requires mental simulations that are abbreviated, unrepresentative and decontextualized (Gilbert and Wilson, 2007). This `hypothetical bias’ effect (Kang et al., 2011) has routinely demonstrated that the influence of socio-emotional factors and tangible risk (Wilson et al., 2000) is relatively diluted in hypothetical decisions: not only do hypothetical moral probes lack the tension engendered by competing, real-world emotional choices but also they fail to elicit expectations of consequencesboth of which are endemic to real moral reasoning (Krebs et al., 1997). In fact, research has shown that when real contextual pressures and their associated consequences come into play, people can behave in characteristically immoral ways (Baumgartner et al., 2009; Greene and Paxton, 2009). Although there is also important work examining the neural basis of the opposite behavioral findingaltruistic decision-making (Moll et al., 2006)the neural networks underlying the conflicting motivation of maximizing self-gain at the expense of another are still poorly understood. Studying the neural architecture of this form of moral tension is particularly compelling because monetary incentives to behave immorally are pervasive throughout societypeople frequently cheat on their loved ones, steal from their employers or harm others for monetary gain. Moreover, we reasoned that any behavioral and neural disparities between real and hypothetical moral reasoning will likely have the sharpest focus when two fundamental proscriptionsdo not harm others and do not over-benefit the self at the expense of others (Haidt, 2007)are directly pitted against one another. In other words, we speculated that this prototypical moral conflict would provide an ideal test-bed to examine the behavioral and neural differences between intentions and actions.Received 18 April 2012; Accepted 8 June 2012 Advance Access publication 18 June 2012 Correspondence should be addressed to Oriel FeldmanHall, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK. E-mail: [email protected], we used a `your pain, my gain’ (PvG) laboratory task (Feldmanhall et al., 2012) to operationalize this core choice between personal advantage and another’s welfare: subjects were probed about their willingness to receive money (up to ?00) by physically harming (via electric stimulations) another subject (Figure 1A). The juxtaposition of these two conflicting motivations requires balancing selfish needs against the notion of `doing the right thing’ (Blair, 2007). We carried out a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment using the PvG task to first explore if real moral behavior mirrors hypothetical in.

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