The neural circuitry of a broken promise

Baumgartner, Thomas; Fischbacher, Urs; Feierabend, Anja; Lutz, Kai; Fehr, Ernst (2009). The neural circuitry of a broken promise. Neuron, 64(5), pp. 756-770. Cell Press 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.11.017

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Promises are one of the oldest human-specific psychological mechanisms fostering cooperation and trust. Here, we study the neural underpinnings of promise keeping and promise breaking. Subjects first make a promise decision (promise stage), then they anticipate whether the promise affects the interaction partner's decision (anticipation stage) and are subsequently free to keep or break the promise (decision stage). Findings revealed that the breaking of the promise is associated with increased activation in the DLPFC, ACC, and amygdala, suggesting that the dishonest act involves an emotional conflict due to the suppression of the honest response. Moreover, the breach of the promise can be predicted by a perfidious brain activity pattern (anterior insula, ACC, inferior frontal gyrus) during the promise and anticipation stage, indicating that brain measurements may reveal malevolent intentions before dishonest or deceitful acts are actually committed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience

UniBE Contributor:

Baumgartner, Thomas

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0896-6273

Publisher:

Cell Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas Baumgartner

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2014 16:05

Last Modified:

21 Jan 2015 04:12

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.neuron.2009.11.017

PubMed ID:

20005830

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.58302

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/58302

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