Detecting honesty-related conflicts in the body and the brain: their relation to psychopathological dimensions

Proponente Maria Serena Panasiti - Professore Associato
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca

Depending on who we are and which are the circumstances around us, we might find more or less easy to decide to be honest. It has been shown that sensitivity to reward and guilt proneness act as opposing forces on the decision to deceive others: the former pushes people toward dishonesty while the latter does the opposite, enhancing honest behaviour. Importantly, psychopathological conditions characterized by overly intense guilt or reward sensitivity, also show atypical moral behaviour.
A potential moderator of how the temptation vs guilt conflict relates to dishonesty, is interoception, i.e., the awareness of one¿s own bodily signals. Although it is known that interoception has a strong impact on decision making, it is still unclear whether its role could be that of detecting the magnitude of the conflict related to that decision.
With this research project we plan to record electroencephalographic activity of a group of participants that will be involved in an experimental paradigm in which they will be tempted to deceive other people to get a monetary reward. Moreover, we will assess participants¿ interoceptive abilities and basic psychopathological dimensions.
We aim to: i) to identify pre-response brain activity sensible to the temptation vs. guilt conflict in order to predict participants¿ tendency to act (dis)honestly; ii) measure participants¿ interoceptive awareness and test if it moderates the influence of the temptation vs guilt conflict on (dis)honest behavior; iii) measure the association of pre-response brain activity during the temptation vs guilt conflict and basic psychopathological dimensions.
The results from this project would have important theoretical and translational implications as it would provide information on the relation between morality, interoception and psychopathology.


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