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Sacred values: Trade-off type matters - Zurich Open Repository and Archive


Duc, Corinne; Hanselmann, Martin; Boesiger, Peter; Tanner, Carmen (2014). Sacred values: Trade-off type matters. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics, 6(4):252-263.

Abstract

Previous psychological investigations revealed that sacred values (SVs; the belief that certain values are nonsubstitutable and may not be traded off, in particular, against secular economic values) modulates moral decision making depending on the type of SV infringement involved. Extending this research, we compared neurofunctional correlates determined from fMRI measurements during decision making in 3 different trade-off types (taboo, tragic, and routine) with psychological measures obtained from the same 2 participant groups characterized by either high SV (SVH) or low (SVL)scoring values. Congruent with previous studies showing that outright SV violation tends to provoke profound moral indignation, in accordance with the surmise that SVs serve as a heuristic under these (taboo trade-off) conditions, and in conformity with previous reports on neurofunctional changes observed in volunteers confronted with moral norm transgressions, we found increased blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals in the left anterior temporal lobe and bilateral amygdalae, as well as significant correlation between right amygdala BOLD signals and moral disgust ratings, in the taboo trade-off condition for the SVH (compared with the SVL) group. The results are discussed in relation to previous research suggesting a close association of SVs with a deontological focus of moral universalism, as well as regarding mechanisms supposed to play a key role in overcoming barriers to the resolution of deep-seated conflicts.

Abstract

Previous psychological investigations revealed that sacred values (SVs; the belief that certain values are nonsubstitutable and may not be traded off, in particular, against secular economic values) modulates moral decision making depending on the type of SV infringement involved. Extending this research, we compared neurofunctional correlates determined from fMRI measurements during decision making in 3 different trade-off types (taboo, tragic, and routine) with psychological measures obtained from the same 2 participant groups characterized by either high SV (SVH) or low (SVL)scoring values. Congruent with previous studies showing that outright SV violation tends to provoke profound moral indignation, in accordance with the surmise that SVs serve as a heuristic under these (taboo trade-off) conditions, and in conformity with previous reports on neurofunctional changes observed in volunteers confronted with moral norm transgressions, we found increased blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signals in the left anterior temporal lobe and bilateral amygdalae, as well as significant correlation between right amygdala BOLD signals and moral disgust ratings, in the taboo trade-off condition for the SVH (compared with the SVL) group. The results are discussed in relation to previous research suggesting a close association of SVs with a deontological focus of moral universalism, as well as regarding mechanisms supposed to play a key role in overcoming barriers to the resolution of deep-seated conflicts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:27 January 2014
Deposited On:20 Feb 2015 09:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:58
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:1937-321X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/npe0000014
Official URL:http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/npe/6/4/252/
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:9108

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