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The Neural Correlates Of Third-Party Punishment, Owen D. Jones, Joshua Buckholtz, Christopher L. Asplund, Paul E. Dux, David H. Zald, John C. Gore, Rene Marois Apr 2019

The Neural Correlates Of Third-Party Punishment, Owen D. Jones, Joshua Buckholtz, Christopher L. Asplund, Paul E. Dux, David H. Zald, John C. Gore, Rene Marois

Owen Jones

This article reports the discovery, from the first full-scale law and neuroscience experiment, of the brain activity underlying punishment decisions.

We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity of subjects as they read hypothetical scenarios about harm-causing protagonists and then decided whether to punish and, if so, how much.

The key variables were: a) presence or absence of excusing, justifying, or otherwise mitigating factors (such as acting under duress); and b) harm severity (which ranged from a stolen CD to a rape/murder/torture combination).

Findings include:

(1) Analytic and emotional brain circuitries are jointly involved, yet ...


Parsing The Behavioral And Brain Mechanisms Of Third-Party Punishment, Owen D. Jones, Matthew Ginther, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Francis X. Shen, Kenneth W. Simons, Rene Marois Apr 2019

Parsing The Behavioral And Brain Mechanisms Of Third-Party Punishment, Owen D. Jones, Matthew Ginther, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Francis X. Shen, Kenneth W. Simons, Rene Marois

Owen Jones

The evolved capacity for third-party punishment is considered crucial to the emergence and maintenance of elaborate human social organization and is central to the modern provision of fairness and justice within society. Although it is well established that the mental state of the offender and the severity of the harm he caused are the two primary predictors of punishment decisions, the precise cognitive and brain mechanisms by which these distinct components are evaluated and integrated into a punishment decision are poorly understood.

Using a brain-scanning technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we implemented a novel experimental design to ...