‘Imagined guilt’ versus ‘recollected guilt’ : implications for fMRI

McLatchie, Neil Marvin and Giner-Sorolla, Roger and Derbyshire, Stuart (2016) ‘Imagined guilt’ versus ‘recollected guilt’ : implications for fMRI. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11 (5). pp. 703-711. ISSN 1749-5016

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Guilt is thought to maintain social harmony by motivating reparation (Haidt, 2003; Trivers, 1971). The present study compared two methodologies commonly used to identify the neural correlates of guilt. The first, imagined guilt, requires participants to read hypothetical scenarios and then imagine themselves as the protagonist. The second, recollected guilt, requires participants to reflect on times they personally experienced guilt. In the fMRI scanner, participants were presented with guilt/neutral memories and guilt/neutral hypothetical scenarios. Contrasts confirmed a priori predictions that guilt memories, relative to guilt scenarios, were associated with significantly greater activity in regions associated with affect (ACC, Caudate, Insula, OFC) and social cognition (TP, precuneus). Similarly, results indicated that guilt memories, relative to neutral memories, were also associated with greater activity in affective (ACC, amygdala, Insula, OFC) and social cognition (mPFC, TP, precuneus, TPJ) regions. There were no significant differences between guilt hypothetical scenarios and neutral hypothetical scenarios in either affective or social cognition regions. The importance of distinguishing between different guilt inductions inside the scanner are discussed. We offer explanations of our results and discuss ideas for future research.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
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© The Author (2016). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? guiltguilty feelingsguilty thoughtsfmricognitive neuroscienceexperimental and cognitive psychology ??
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Deposited On:
06 Jan 2016 14:38
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:37