The Neural Correlates of Moral Thinking: A Meta-Analysis

We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate current research that aims to map the neural correlates of two typical conditions of moral judgment: right-wrong moral judgments and decision-making in moral dilemmas. Utilizing the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) method, we conducted a meta-analysis using neuroimaging data obtained from twenty-one previous studies that measured responses in one or the other of these conditions.

neuralWe found that across the studies (n = 400), distinct neural circuits correlated with a distinction in the type of moral question used as stimulus. For right-wrong moral judgments, the significantly active regions were identified in the right medial frontal gyrus, the bilateral anterior cingulates, the left inferior frontal gyrus, the right middle temporal gyrus, the left superior frontal gyrus and the left posterior cingulate.

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