Neurocognitive mechanisms of reactions to second- and third-party justice violations
SourceScientific Reports, 9, (2019), article 9271
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Decision Neuroscience
SW OZ BSI BO
SW OZ BSI SCP
Subject140 000 Decision neuroscience; Behaviour Change and Well-being
The aim of the current study was threefold: (i) understand people's willingness to engage in either punishment of the perpetrator or compensation of the victim in order to counteract injustice; (ii) look into the differences between victims of and witnesses to injustice; (iii) investigate the different role played by social preference and affective experience in determining these choices. The sample tested here showed an equal preference for punishment and compensation; neuroimaging findings suggested that compensation, as opposed to punishment, was related to Theory of Mind. Partially supporting previous literature, choosing how to react to an injustice as victims, rather than witnesses, triggered a stronger affective response (striatal and prefrontal activation). Moreover, results supported the idea that deciding whether or not to react to an injustice and then how severely to react are two distinct decisional stages underpinned by different neurocognitive mechanisms, i.e., sensitivity to unfairness (anterior insula) and negative affectivity (amygdala). These findings provide a fine-grained description of the psychological mechanisms underlying important aspects of social norm compliance.
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