Functional networks in emotional moral and nonmoral social judgments

Jorge Moll*, Ricardo De Oliveira-Souza, Ivanei E. Bramati, Jordan Grafman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Reading daily newspaper articles often evokes opinions and social judgments about the characters and stories. Social and moral judgments rely on the proper functioning of neural circuits concerned with complex cognitive and emotional processes. To examine whether dissociable neural systems mediate emotionally charged moral and nonmoral social judgments, we used a visual sentence verification task in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We found that a network comprising the medial orbitofrontal cortex, the temporal pole and the superior temporal sulcus of the left hemisphere was specifically activated by moral judgments. In contrast, judgment of emotionally evocative, but non-moral statements activated the left amygdala, lingual gyri, and the lateral orbital gyrus. These findings provide new evidence that the orbitofrontal cortex has dedicated subregions specialized in processing specific forms of social behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Neuroscience
Subtitle of host publicationKey Readings
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780203496190
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Acquired sociopathy
  • FMRI
  • Frontal lobes
  • Moral judgment
  • Orbitofrontal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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