Structural differences in insular cortex reflect vicarious injustice sensitivity

Baumgartner, Thomas; Saulin, Anne; Hein, Grit; Knoch, Daria (2016). Structural differences in insular cortex reflect vicarious injustice sensitivity. PLoS ONE, 11(12), pp. 1-9. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0167538

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Sensitivity to injustice inflicted on others is a strong motivator of human social behavior. There are, however, enormous individual differences in vicarious injustice sensitivity. Some people are strongly affected when witnessing injustice, while others barely notice it, but the factors behind this heterogeneity are poorly understood. Here we examine the neuroanatomical basis of these differences using voxel-based morphometry and Freesurfer image analysis suite. Whole brain corrected analyses show that a person’s propensity to be vicariously affected by injustice to others is reflected by the gray matter volume and thickness of the bilateral mid insular cortex. The larger a person’s gray matter volume and thickness of the mid insula, the higher that person’s sensitivity to injustice experienced by others. These findings show that the individual neuroanatomy of the mid insular cortex captures a person’s predisposition to be vicariously affected by injustice, and thus adds a novel aspect to previous functional work that has linked this region to the processing of transient vicarious states.

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; Saulin, Anne; Hein, Grit and Knoch, Daria

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas Baumgartner

Date Deposited:

02 Feb 2017 15:15

Last Modified:

02 Feb 2017 15:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0167538

PubMed ID:

27930678

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.91643

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/91643

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