Relative Activation Patterns Associated with Self-Transcendent and Self-Enhancement Core Values: An fMRI Study of Basic Human Values Theory Concepts in Males




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Taylor and Francis Ltd.


Core values have been shown to influence a variety of social behaviors, but research on the brain networks supporting their effects is sparse. While undergoing fMRI scanning, twenty male participants evaluated descriptions of real-world activities according to how worthwhile they were and how likely they were to participate in them. Each activity was categorized according to contexts conceptualized in the Basic Human Values Theory (BHVT) model of core values. We investigated two Self-enhancement values (Power and Achievement) and two Self-transcendent values (Benevolence and Universalism). Behavioral results indicated that Achievement and Benevolence activities were rated higher on both worthiness and participation willingness than Power and Universalism activities. Neuroimaging results revealed that self-transcendence activities elicited greater medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate activation relative to self-enhancement activities during participation rated trials. Contrasting Power, Benevolence, and Universalism activities against Achievement activities during participation rated trials revealed a network of regions critical for moral processing, suggesting that activities corresponding to these three values were considered within a moral framework. No brain regions demonstrated activity that tracked behavioral ratings associated with specific values. This study expands upon previous core values research by demonstrating that real-world contexts related to different BHVT values elicit different brain regions. ©2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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Values, Magnetic resonance imaging, Social ethics, Achievement, Gyrus Cinguli, Brain, Prefrontal cortex, Ethics, Neuroimaging, Human beings, Males


©2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group