Effective connectivity of brain regions underlying third-party punishment

Functional MRI and Granger causality evidence

Gabriele Bellucci, Sergey Chernyak, Morris Hoffman, Gopikrishna Deshpande, Olga Dal Monte, Kristine M. Knutson, Jordan Grafman, Frank Krueger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Third-party punishment (TPP) for norm violations is an essential deterrent in large-scale human societies, and builds on two essential cognitive functions: evaluating legal responsibility and determining appropriate punishment. Despite converging evidence that TPP is mediated by a specific set of brain regions, little is known about their effective connectivity (direction and strength of connections). Applying parametric event-related functional MRI in conjunction with multivariate Granger causality analysis, we asked healthy participants to estimate how much punishment a hypothetical perpetrator deserves for intentionally committing criminal offenses varying in levels of harm. Our results confirmed that TPP legal decisions are based on two domain-general networks: the mentalizing network for evaluating legal responsibility and the central-executive network for determining appropriate punishment. Further, temporal pole (TP) and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (PFC) emerged as hubs of the mentalizing network, uniquely generating converging output connections to ventromedial PFC, temporo-parietal junction, and posterior cingulate. In particular, dorsomedial PFC received inputs only from TP and both its activation and its connectivity to dorsolateral PFC correlated with degree of punishment. This supports the hypothesis that dorsomedial PFC acts as the driver of the TPP activation pattern, leading to the decision on the appropriate punishment. In conclusion, these results advance our understanding of the organizational elements of the TPP brain networks and provide better insights into the mental states of judges and jurors tasked with blaming and punishing legal wrongs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-134
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2017

Fingerprint

Punishment
causality
Causality
connectivity
brain
penalty
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Brain
Prefrontal Cortex
evidence
Theory of Mind
Pole
activation
norm violation
responsibility
decision
Gyrus Cinguli
Cognition
Healthy Volunteers
driver

Keywords

  • Third-party punishment
  • effective connectivity
  • prefrontal cortex
  • social cognition
  • temporal pole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Bellucci, G., Chernyak, S., Hoffman, M., Deshpande, G., Dal Monte, O., Knutson, K. M., ... Krueger, F. (2017). Effective connectivity of brain regions underlying third-party punishment: Functional MRI and Granger causality evidence. Social Neuroscience, 12(2), 124-134. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2016.1153518
Bellucci, Gabriele ; Chernyak, Sergey ; Hoffman, Morris ; Deshpande, Gopikrishna ; Dal Monte, Olga ; Knutson, Kristine M. ; Grafman, Jordan ; Krueger, Frank. / Effective connectivity of brain regions underlying third-party punishment : Functional MRI and Granger causality evidence. In: Social Neuroscience. 2017 ; Vol. 12, No. 2. pp. 124-134.
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Bellucci, G, Chernyak, S, Hoffman, M, Deshpande, G, Dal Monte, O, Knutson, KM, Grafman, J & Krueger, F 2017, 'Effective connectivity of brain regions underlying third-party punishment: Functional MRI and Granger causality evidence', Social Neuroscience, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 124-134. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2016.1153518

Effective connectivity of brain regions underlying third-party punishment : Functional MRI and Granger causality evidence. / Bellucci, Gabriele; Chernyak, Sergey; Hoffman, Morris; Deshpande, Gopikrishna; Dal Monte, Olga; Knutson, Kristine M.; Grafman, Jordan; Krueger, Frank.

In: Social Neuroscience, Vol. 12, No. 2, 04.03.2017, p. 124-134.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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