Create an Account CourseStreet Log in  Connect with Facebook
Home Blog
 

NRSC 2100 Blog

A GROUP WEBLOG FOR NRSC 2100 SUMMER NRSC 2100

Showing entries tagged deception.  Show all entries

December 5, 2011

Why Keep A Promise?


It is interesting to see the importance humans place on a promise. A promise is not visible or tangible yet it still seems to have a strong, compulsory quality to it. Why is that? The truth of the matter is humans have the exceptional capacity to establish social norms and create understood cooperation among each other that is not seen elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Before society's infrastructure of rules and laws existed, promises were still made as a way to ensure trust, teamwork and partnership. Furthermore and perhaps the most intriguing aspect of a promise is that it is a verbal, nonbinding agreement. Yet despite the lack of concrete liability we still make promises every day.

Some research looking into the systems of the brain involved in nonbinding agreements has been done but there are still more questions than answers regarding of this topic. Using promises as a premise for research opens a unique door because promises can either be kept or broken. They can be made for many reasons but there are two justifications for keeping a promise. The first is to ensure future trust and cooperation and is referred to as an instrumental reason. The second rational is because it is the right thing to do and is called the intrinsic reason. The study in this paper focuses on the latter of these two explanations.

Each trial of the experiment had two subjects, a trustee and an investor. The trustee's brain activity was measured. First the trustee promises the investor to always, mostly, sometimes, or never keep their promise. In this study to be trustworthy means sharing the money made equally. The investor could choose to invest or not and then the trustee could choose to keep or break their promise to share the money. The trustee could choose both the strength of their promise and whether or not to keep their promise. These freedoms of choice led to two main groups of trustee subjects: both groups almost unanimously promised to "always" keep their promise but when it came to keeping the promise the subjects split into either the group who honored their promise or who was dishonest.

This study was the first to create a design looking at three different processes that play a role in promises. The first stage is the promise stage where the promise is made, then there is what is called the anticipation stage while they wait for the commitment of the investor, and finally the decision stage where the promise is either kept or broken. Researchers could differentiate subjects who will keep their promise and who will break it by brain activity during the promise stage, when the deceitful act is already planned.

This study found that all stages of the paradigm revealed different, highly specific activation patterns in the brain. The promise stage is where the dishonest act may be already planned but not yet implemented and researchers hypothesize if the subject already plans to break a promise, this misleading gesture will induce an emotional conflict. This emotional clash shows activity in parts of brain involved in conflict and negative emotional process such as the anterior cingulated cortex or amygdala. The anticipation stage showed parallels in brain activity to personality traits such as depression and neuroticism, both of which are associated with negative expectations of the future. When the subject had to decide to keep or break the promise, breaking the promise showed similar brain activity to the emotional process of telling a lie and the guilt that that involves. This study showed plausible evidence tying nonbinding agreements to emotional and logical processes of the brain. This evidence is critical in explaining why humans value and venerate the simple idea of a promise.



Baumgartner, Thomas, Urs Fischbacher, Anja Feierabend, Kai Lutz, and Ernsty Fehr. "Broken Promises." Neuron 64.5 (2009): 756+. Science Direct. Elsevier Inc, 10 Dec. 2009. Web. 5 Dec. 2011. .
Posted by      Bethany B. at 10:48 AM MST
  Sarah Bennet  says:
Amazing blog and very emotional. A promise is not a concrete thing but it has feelings and quality to bond two people with trust. Everyone should need to read this and learn the important message from this. dba writing help
Posted on Wed, 3 Jul 2019 3:34 AM MDT by Sarah B.

December 4, 2011

Phantom Limb Pain and Cortex Reorganization


Feeling pain in the arm that you lost in an accident? Does your arm you lost in the war itch terribly? This sensation of feeling like a lost limb is still attached to the body is known as a phantom limb pain (PLP). The purpose of this study was to identify plastic changes in the somatosensory and motor cortex in patients with and without phantom limb pain. Most sensations regarding these phantom limbs are painful as if the limb was contorted into an awkward position. Although in many cases the complaint is pain, some patients experiencing a phantom limb experience sensations such as itching, burning, or feeling as though the limb is too short. Although PLP is more common in the early stages following an amputation, some have reported pain for years after. It was previously discovered that PLP had a strong correlation with representational plasticity in the somatosensory cortex; however, its correlation with the plasticity in the motor cortex was unknown. This experiment used methods such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex, and neuroelectric source imaging of the somatosensory cortex to study the correlation of plasticity in these cortices.

In this study, participants included five upper-limp amputees experiencing PLP and five upper-limb amputees experiencing no PLP. A German version of the West Haven- Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory was used to evaluate each patient's stump and limb pain. To test for motor reorganization, focal TMS was delivered from a magnetic stimulator through an 8-shaped magnetic coil. The leads were positioned to cause currents to flow approximately perpendicular to the central sulcus, optimally causing the largest peak-to-peak motor evoked potential in each muscle. In patients experiencing PLP, a map of outputs determined by neuroelectric source imaging of EEGs done showed significantly larger motor-evoked outputs on the side lacking the arm than the side with the remaining arm, whereas excitability in the motor neurons of amputees remained unchanged. Since it was previously known that motor reorganization in amputees takes place at a cortical level, the leap was made that. "It is likely that cortical mechanisms are also responsible for the differences in reorganization observed in both patient groups (Karl, Anke et. al., 2011)."

While these findings support the notion that increased plasticity is present in the motor cortex of PLP patients, the evidence used to support this main point is presented in a very odd fashion. Immediately following this claim about cortical mechanisms and presenting supporting evidence, they state that their results "do not rule out the possibility of additional subcortical reorganization." This statement is saying that other factors could be causing or contributing to the claims being made by their research, thus making the research inconclusive as a whole. Another problem with the research methods is that the patient's amputations all occurred at different times. Some more recent than others, which could have a profound effect on the plasticity levels reached at the time of testing.
All in all the research conducted further supports already claimed notions, while having no real additions of any validity or originality. These limitations could be reduced by choosing patients who's amputations occurred within the same month. The potential that could be reached through studies similar to this are immense, but further research needs to be conducted in order to draw on more valuable conclusions.




The Journal of Neuroscience, 15 May 2001, 21(10): 3609-3618;
Posted by      Madelyn K. at 8:29 PM MST

October 24, 2011

Caught in a Lie: The Role of the Brain in Detecting Deception


Vital to everyday social and economic interactions is the ability to accurately discern whether other individuals are being honest or deceitful. While recognizing dishonesty is no easy matter, it is nonetheless possible even in the absence of signals from facial expression, through careful attention to nonverbal cues. Researcher Julie Grèzes and her colleagues have identified the brain mechanisms that underlie detection of deceptive intent through the use of fMRI technology.

The study involved imaging 11 participants as they viewed videos of actors with blurred faces lifting boxes, and evaluated whether the actors were attempting to deceive them regarding the weight of the box. The results from this experiment were compared to the results from a previous study in which participants were asked to judge whether actors' expectations of a box's weight were false. The key contrasting variable was the judgment of of deceptive intent in the current study, versus the judgment of a false belief resulting in accidental deception in the previous study.

Their research concluded that the amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex were both significantly activated when the participants judged the actors as being intentionally deceptive, yet not when the actors were judged to have unknowingly erroneous beliefs that led to accidental deception.

The amygdala is known to be a critical aspect of the neural circuitry concerning emotion and value appraisal. Additionally, the anterior cingulate cortex is activated when there is intent to directly communicate with the participant, indicated by eye contact and use of the participant's name. Based on such, the researchers speculate that activation of the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex may be suggestive of the observers' valuation of social intentions towards themselves, and could thereby reflect an emotional response to being misled.

Whether activated by an internal sense of fairness or rather an assessment of social intention, the amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex are working together to help catch liars everywhere, red handed.

The original paper can be viewed at: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/24/24/5500.full?sid=4dc151cf-6709-4dae-b031-69ba24dc61c4
Posted by      Anjali C. at 12:00 AM MDT
  Gino Ciarroni  says:
Interesting Anjali,
I find this article to be very intuitive. I question if the concept of deception is an evolved basic instinct. The Amygdala and and rostral anterior cingulate cortex both are triggered in basic survival based learning. The dorsal and rostral areas of the ACC both seem to be affected by rewards and losses associated with errors. The rostral ACC seems to be active after an error commission, indicating an error response function.

While the Amygdala, as part of the limbic system, deals with emotional learing, memory modulation, and social interaction. In regards to social interaction, The amygdala volume correlates positively with both the size (the number of contacts a person has) and the complexity (the number of different groups to which a person belongs) of social networks. Individuals with larger amygdalae had larger and more complex social networks. These people were also better able to make accurate social judgments about other persons' faces. It is hypothesized that larger amygdalae allow for greater emotional intelligence, enabling greater societal integration and cooperation with others. Can Deception be a survival interpretation of where or not we see a stimuli/person as threatening or benefiting? I wonder using the basic parameters, if animals can detect deception.

The amygdala processes reactions to violations concerning personal space. These reactions are absent in persons in whom the amygdala is damaged bilaterally.[42] Furthermore, the amygdala is found to be activated in fMRI when people observe that others are physically close to them, such as when a person being scanned knows that an experimenter is standing immediately next to the scanner, versus standing at a distance
Posted on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 12:02 PM MDT by Gino C.




 Copyright © 2007-2016 Don Cooper, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
  Feed — Subscribe: RSS