Gender differences and unfairness processing during economic and moral decision-making: a fNIRS study

Maria Elide Vanutelli, Francesca Meroni, Giulia Fronda, Michela Balconi, Claudio Lucchiari

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1 Citazioni (Scopus)


Decisional conflicts have been investigated with social decision-making tasks, which represent good models to elicit social and emotional dynamics, including fairness perception. To explore these issues, we created two modified versions of the UG framed within an economic vs. a moral context that included two kinds of unfair offers: advantageous (upside, U) or disadvantageous (downside, D) from the responder’s perspective, and vice-versa for the proponent. The hemodynamic activity of 36 participants, 20 females and 16 males, was continuously recorded with fNIRS to investigate the presence of general or specific circuits between the different experimental conditions. Results showed that disadvantageous offers (D) are associated with an increased widespread cortical activation. Furthermore, we found that advantageous moral choices at the expense of others (U) were related to the activation of the right prefrontal cortex. Finally, we found gender-related differences in brain activations in the different frameworks. In particular, the DLPFC was recruited by females during the economic task, and by males during the moral frame. In conclusion, the present study confirmed and expanded previous data about the role of the prefrontal cortices in decision-making, suggesting the need for further studies to understand better the different prefrontal networks serving moral and economic decisions also considering gender-related differences.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-16
Numero di pagine16
RivistaBrain Sciences
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Decision-making
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Ultimatum game
  • Unfairness


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