An fMRI Study of Emotional engagement in decicion-making

It has been suggested that decision making depends on sensitive feelings associated with cognitive processing rather than cognitive processing alone. From human lesions, we know the medial anterior inferior-ventral prefrontal cortex processes the sensitivity associated with cognitive processing, it being essentially responsible for decision making. In this fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Image) study 15 subjects were analyzed using moral dilemmas as probes to investigate the neural basis for painful-emotional sensitivity associated with decision making. We found that a network comprising the posterior and anterior cingulate and the medial anterior prefrontal cortex was significantly and specifically activated by painful moral dilemmas, but not by non-painful dilemmas. These findings provide new evidence that the cingulate and medial anterior prefrontal are involved in processing painful emotional sensibility, in particular, when decision making takes place. We speculate that decision making has a cognitive component processed by cognitive brain areas and a sensitivity component processed by emotional brain areas. The structures activated suggest that decision making depends on painful emotional feeling processing rather than cognitive processing when painful feeling processing happens ​
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