Neuroetica delle risposte deontologiche e utilitaristiche. Analisi del ruolo delle emozioni nella decisione morale indagato mediante ERPs

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Neuroethics of ethical and utilitarian responses. Analysis of the role of emotions in the moral decision investigated by ERPs

Michela Balconi, Andrea Terenzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

[Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction. In neuroethics, the conviction emerged that emotions play an important role in the decision-making processes concerning the moral sphere. However, a question related to the previous one and still partially unresolved concerns the neural correlates underlying this decisional context. Numerous researches suggest a priority contribution of the prefrontal cortex to moral decision making. The aim of this contribution is the exploration of the cortical response (ERPs) in contexts of moral decision with emotional value. Method. The experiment was attended by 25 subjects who were presented with a battery of moral dilemmas. All the dilemmas had the same structure, including the choice between two alternatives that represent opposite moral principles: not to violate personal moral rules by inducing negative consequences on others (deontological choice); violating personal moral rules but ensuring positive consequences on others (utilitarian choice). Results. The presence of the N200 index emerged from the morphological analyzes of the EEG trace. Subsequently to this data a series of repeated measures ANOVA was applied using the variables: cortical area (4) and lateralization (2) in relation to the two decisional, deontological and utilitarian areas. The analyzes revealed an increase in electrophysiological activity in the frontal-right area (p <.01), both during deontological and utilitarian responses. Conclusions. On the basis of previous research that has highlighted the emotional significance of the N200 index, it is possible to suppose that both types of answers (deontological and utilitarian) involve an emotional response on the part of the analogous subject both in terms of quality and quantity. Furthermore, the frontal areas with right lateralization would be more involved.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Neuroethics of ethical and utilitarian responses. Analysis of the role of emotions in the moral decision investigated by ERPs
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationAtti del XVII Congresso annuale Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - Sez. Psicologia Sperimentale
Pages18
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventXVII Congresso annuale Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - Sez. Psicologia Sperimentale - Catania
Duration: 14 Sep 201116 Sep 2011

Conference

ConferenceXVII Congresso annuale Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - Sez. Psicologia Sperimentale
CityCatania
Period14/9/1116/9/11

Keywords

  • neuropsychology

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