Orbitofrontal cortex and morality

Michitaka Funayama, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Research on the neural substrates of morality is a recently emerging field in neuroscience. The anatomical structures implicated to play a role in morality include the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, cingulate gyrus, amygdala, hippocampus, and basal ganglia. In particular, the orbitofrontal or ventromedial prefrontal areas are thought to be involved in decision-making, and damage to these areas is likely to cause decision-making deficits and/or problems in impulsive control, which may lead to antisocial and less moral behaviors. In this article, we focus on case presentation and theory development with regard to moral judgment. First, we discuss notable cases and syndromes developing after orbitofrontal/ventromedial prefrontal damage, such as the famous cases of Gage and EVR, cases of childhood orbitofrontal damage, forced collectionism, squalor syndrome, and hypermoral syndrome. We then review the proposed theories and neuropsychological mechanisms underlying decision-making deficits following orbitofrontal/ventromedial prefrontal damage, including the somatic-marker hypothesis, reversal learning, preference judgment, theory of mind, and moral dilemma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1129
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Nerve
Volume64
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1

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Keywords

  • Decision-making deficit
  • Morality
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Preference judgment
  • Reversal learning
  • Somatic-marker hypothesis
  • Ventromedial prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Funayama, M., & Mimura, M. (2012). Orbitofrontal cortex and morality. Brain and Nerve, 64(10), 1121-1129.