Activation of brain areas concerned with social cognition during moral decisions is abnormal in schizophrenia patients and unaffected siblings

Delfina de Achával, Mirta F. Villarreal, Arleen Salles, M. Julia Bertomeu, Elsa Y. Costanzo, Micaela Goldschmidt, Mariana N. Castro, Iris van der Poel, Charles Nemeroff, Salvador M. Guinjoan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Moral decision-making involves complex social cognitive processes which are known to be altered in patients with schizophrenia and first-degree relatives. Traditional philosophical views on human moral behavior have distinguished between utilitarian views (which emphasize outcomes) and deontological approaches (defining what is right to do according to certain norms). Since emotions have been suggested to play a determining role in moral behavior, we hypothesized patients with schizophrenia and unaffected siblings would make more utilitarian choices and show faulty activation of brain areas concerned with emotion regulation during such tasks. Unexpectedly, all participants (. n = 13 per group) made the same proportion of utilitarian and deontological decisions. Brain activation common to all groups induced by moral decisions included two circumscribed portions of right ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, adding to previous evidence on a right prosencephalic cognitive network involved in ethical decisions. However, brain activation induced by moral decisions was different in healthy persons, schizophrenia patients, and nonpsychotic siblings in regards to areas directly concerned with emotion processing. These results seem to underscore the role of acquired norms in moral decisions, a frequently overlooked concept in the neurobiological characterization of human ethical behavior, and add to previous evidence of abnormal social cognitive processing in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-782
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Fingerprint

Cognition
Siblings
Schizophrenia
Emotions
Brain
Prefrontal Cortex
Decision Making
Activation
Social Cognition
Brain Activation
Emotion

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • FMRI
  • Moral
  • Schizophrenia
  • Siblings
  • Ventromedial prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

de Achával, D., Villarreal, M. F., Salles, A., Julia Bertomeu, M., Costanzo, E. Y., Goldschmidt, M., ... Guinjoan, S. M. (2013). Activation of brain areas concerned with social cognition during moral decisions is abnormal in schizophrenia patients and unaffected siblings. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47(6), 774-782. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.12.018

Activation of brain areas concerned with social cognition during moral decisions is abnormal in schizophrenia patients and unaffected siblings. / de Achával, Delfina; Villarreal, Mirta F.; Salles, Arleen; Julia Bertomeu, M.; Costanzo, Elsa Y.; Goldschmidt, Micaela; Castro, Mariana N.; van der Poel, Iris; Nemeroff, Charles; Guinjoan, Salvador M.

In: Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 47, No. 6, 01.06.2013, p. 774-782.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

de Achával, D, Villarreal, MF, Salles, A, Julia Bertomeu, M, Costanzo, EY, Goldschmidt, M, Castro, MN, van der Poel, I, Nemeroff, C & Guinjoan, SM 2013, 'Activation of brain areas concerned with social cognition during moral decisions is abnormal in schizophrenia patients and unaffected siblings', Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 774-782. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.12.018
de Achával, Delfina ; Villarreal, Mirta F. ; Salles, Arleen ; Julia Bertomeu, M. ; Costanzo, Elsa Y. ; Goldschmidt, Micaela ; Castro, Mariana N. ; van der Poel, Iris ; Nemeroff, Charles ; Guinjoan, Salvador M. / Activation of brain areas concerned with social cognition during moral decisions is abnormal in schizophrenia patients and unaffected siblings. In: Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2013 ; Vol. 47, No. 6. pp. 774-782.
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