Personal and impersonal stimuli differentially engage brain networks during moral reasoning

Shao Wei Xue, Yan Wang, Yi Yuan Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Moral decision making has recently attracted considerable attention as a core feature of all human endeavors. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging studies about moral judgment have identified brain areas associated with cognitive or emotional engagement. Here, we applied graph theory-based network analysis of event-related potentials during moral decision making to reveal the personal/impersonal distinction in the organization of functional connectivity. Our results indicated that the personal task had more larger long-range connections involved in frontal regions and the right hemisphere, and higher network efficiency of some frontal electrodes such as F2 than the impersonal. These might be related to brain resource reorganization contributing to efficient conflict resolution. These findings provide new insights into neural mechanisms of moral dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain networks
  • Event-related potentials
  • Moral judgment
  • Synchronization likelihood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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