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A causal role for right temporo-parietal junction in signaling moral conflict

  1. Ignacio Obeso
  2. Marius Moisa
  3. Christian C Ruff
  4. Jean-Claude Dreher  Is a corresponding author
  1. Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod, CNRS, UMR 5229 and Université Claude Bernard (UCBL), Lyon 1, France
  2. HM Hospitales – Centro Integral en Neurociencias HM CINAC, Spain
  3. University of Zurich, Switzerland
Research Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2018;7:e40671 doi: 10.7554/eLife.40671
3 figures, 1 table, 1 data set and 4 additional files

Figures

Figure 1 with 3 supplements
Donation task.

(A) Presentation of moral context and public trial conditions, with green leaf logo from ‘Bread for all’ organization; (B) presentation of immoral context and private trial conditions, showing the ‘Lewas’ organization logo. (C) It shows the trial distribution of the moral context and D the trial distribution of the immoral context.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.002
Figure 1—figure supplement 1
Subjects value rating of organization types used in the donation task.

Every participant rated both organizations based on familiarity (‘How much do you understand and are familiar with the organization?”), monetary implication (‘Will you contribute with your own money for the organization profit?”), personal implication (‘Will you use your own resources (personal time, effort, participate in activities, publicity…) to help the organization?”), empathy (‘How attached or close you feel to the organization?”) and friend´s empathy (‘How attached or close do you think your friends will be to the organization?”).

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.003
Figure 1—figure supplement 2
Audience effects are not changed by TMS.

For both stimulation groups, public versus private choices led to similar increased donations to the good organization and similar decreased donations to the bad organization. The audience effect was obtained by subtracting the number of accepted choices in the public minus the private context, separately for each organization type and stimulation group. While an Audience effect was found in the full regression model (Audience coefficient = 0.51; p = 0.043), no Group x Audience interaction was found (Audience x cTBS coefficient = 0.04; p = 0.78).

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.004
Figure 1—figure supplement 3
Reaction times for the different conditions show no significant differences [all F´s > 1], suggesting that TMS did not lead to task disengagement or distraction.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.005
Figure 2 with 2 supplements
Color-coded map for probability of acceptance to donate (warm color shows greater acceptance probability; cold color lower acceptance probability) for the good organization in the control group (vertex) and TPJ group.

Trials relative to both audience conditions (public/private) are shown. The black line represents the control group’s responses at which donations were accepted with 50% probability for each given cost level. Vertical bar indicates the number of times a response was selected, that is one per subject.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.006
Figure 2—figure supplement 1
Behaviour of individual subjects for the TPJ group and each organization type (good vs bad).
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.007
Figure 2—figure supplement 2
Behavior of individual subjects for the Vertex group and each organization type (good vs bad).
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.008
Color-coded map for probability of acceptance to donate (warm color shows greater acceptance probability; cold color lower acceptance probability) for the bad organization in the control group (vertex) and TPJ group.

Trials relative to both audience conditions (public/private) are shown. The black line represents the control group’s responses at which donations were accepted with 50% probability for each given cost level. Vertical bar indicates the number of times a response was selected, that is one per subject.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.009

Tables

Table 1
Regression model results.

A, good organization; B, bad organization.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.010
(A)
CoefficientStd. errorZP>|z|95% Conf. Interval
Subject loss−0.79890.022635.30.00010.75460.8433
Organization gain0.14490.012012.040.00010.12130.1684
cTBS1.37600.59942.30.0220.20112.5509
Gain organizationxcTBS−0.00860.0075−1.140.254−0.02330.0061
constant0.22880.43530.530.599−0.62441.0820
(B)
CoefficientStd. errorZP>|z|95% Conf. Interval
Subject gain0.74150.022033.70.00010.69830.7846
Organization gain−0.20640.0133−15.430.0001−0.2327−0.1802
cTBS0.00220.706300.997−1.38221.3866
Gain organizationxcTBS0.03760.00794.720.00010.02200.0533
constant−1.61180.5126−3.140.002−2.6166−0.6069
  1. Table 1(A):

    Equation 1: logit (prob. accept) = βo + β1*GS + β2*GO + α0*cTBS + α1*cTBS*GO

  2. Number of obs = 5800; Number of participants = 29; Obs per group: min = 200; max = 200; avg. = 200

    Integration points = 7, Wald chi2(4)=1342.55

  3. Log Likelihood = −1948.13, Prob > chi2=0.00001

    Estimate: 1.65; Standard error: 0.21; cTBS: group

  4. Table 1(B):

    Number of obs = 5800; Number of participants = 29; Obs per group: min = 200; max = 200; avg. = 200

  5. Integration points = 7, Wald chi2(4)=1294.59

    Log Likelihood = −1902.89, Prob > chi2=0.00001

  6. Estimate: 1.68; Standard error: 0.25; cTBS: group

Data availability

The data supporting the findings are available on Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/evh37/?=b2c6833f8b9e4622a2bd338e6c23c076).

The following data sets were generated
  1. 1
    Open Science Framework
    1. Obeso Ignacio
    2. Moisa Marius
    3. Ruff Christian
    4. Dreher Jean-Claude
    (2015)
    Brain Stimulation to modify moral decisions.

Additional files

Supplementary file 1

Questionnaire scores for both experimental groups.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.011
Supplementary file 2

Full regression audience model.

A, good organization; B, bad organization.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.012
Supplementary file 3

Full regression model.

A, good organization; B, bad organization.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.013
Transparent reporting form
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.40671.014

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