The amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in morality and psychopathy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

382 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent work has implicated the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in morality and, when dysfunctional, psychopathy. This model proposes that the amygdala, through stimulus-reinforcement learning, enables the association of actions that harm others with the aversive reinforcement of the victims' distress. Consequent information on reinforcement expectancy, fed forward to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, can guide the healthy individual away from moral transgressions. In psychopathy, dysfunction in these structures means that care-based moral reasoning is compromised and the risk that antisocial behavior is used instrumentally to achieve goals is increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-392
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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