Posted by: Hourglass PJ2 FEB 2012
Which of your personal values would you refuse to disavow even if you were offered money to do so?
Researchers from Emory University in the US have conducted a neuro-imaging study with the aim of finding out how people make decisions relating to values they hold dear.
The study involved the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging to record the brain responses of 32 adults shown various statements such as “You are pro-life”. Each of these statements had a contradictory statement, such as “You are pro-choice”.
The participants had the option of auctioning their personal statements and could earn up to $100 per statement by agreeing to sign a document stating the opposite of what they believed. They could opt out of the auction for statements they valued highly.
In the former case, the statement was considered to be not valued as sacred to the participant while in the latter case it was.
The brain imaging data showed a strong correlation between sacred values and activation of the left temporoparietal junction, which is associated with evaluating right from wrong, and the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, which is associated with semantic rule retrieval, but not with neural systems associated with reward.