Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica
Exciting the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Influences Moral Intention Processing
GAN Tian;LI Wanqing;TANG Honghong;LU Xiaping;LI Xiaoli;LIU Chao;LUO Yuejia
(1 Department of Psychology, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou, 310018, China) (2 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neurosciences and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (3Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China)
Download: PDF(489 KB)  
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    
Abstract  When we evaluate the moral status of an action, we consider not only its consequences but also the beliefs and intentions of the actor, which relies on the capacity to infer others' mental states. Functional MRI studies showed that the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ) is the critical brain region for understanding others' mental states. Previous studies have found that the role of intention processing in moral judgment was reduced by disrupting the RTPJ with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In the current study, we enhanced the role of intention processing in moral judgment with the transcranial direct current sitmulation (tDCS), a painless, non-invasive brain stimulation technique that allows us to induce polarity-specific excitability changes in the human brain. Many tDCS studies have confirmed the anodal excitation effect for cognitive functions. However, so far, limited work has been done to explore the tDCS effect on social cognitive function such as moral judgment. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the anodal excitation effect of tDCS on moral judgment. We hypothesize that exciting the neural activity of RTPJ with anodal tDCS could enhance the role of intention processing in moral judgment. To test our hypothesis, 18 healthy college students were recruited to participate in the study. All subjects underwent two tDCS sessions (anodal and sham tDCS) in random order and counterbalanced across subjects on 2 separate days with 1 week interval between both stimulations. We applied anodal (1.5mA, 20 min) and sham tDCS (1.5mA, 15 sec) on the RTPJ while subjects were introduced to keep a resting state. After stimulation, subjects read stories in a 2 (intention: negative vs. neutral) × 2 (outcome: negative vs. neutral) design and were asked to make moral judgment about how much blame the actor deserves. We analyzed the moral evaluation score and reaction time by a 2 (intention) × 2 (outcome) × 2 (tDCS: anodal, sham) repeated measures ANOVA. Results showed that actors with negative intentions were judged more morally blameworthy than those with neutral intentions, and actors producing negative outcomes were judged more blameworthy than those causing neutral outcomes. The differences between no harm (neutral intention, neutral outcome) and accidental harm (neutral intention, negative outcome) were larger than that between attempted harm (negative intention, neutral outcome) and successful harm (negative intention, negative outcome). For the reaction time, judgments of negative outcomes were faster than that of neutral outcomes. The responses to attempted and accidental harm were slower than the other two conditions. Most importantly, the moral judgment was slower under anodal tDCS than sham tDCS stimulation, especially under the attempted harm and accidental harm conditions. These results highlight the role of intention processing in moral judgment. People will spend more time integrating the intention and outcome information in order to make normal moral judgment. Furthermore, the present research provides us a better understanding about the role of RTPJ in moral judgment. Using anodal tDCS to excite the neural activity of RTPJ enhanced the capacity of mentalizing in moral judgment, especially in the cases of attempted harm and accidental harm.
Keywords moral judgment      intention      consequence      right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ)      transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)     
Corresponding Authors: LIU Chao;LUO Yuejia   
Issue Date: 25 September 2013
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
GAN Tian
LI Wanqing
TANG Honghong
LU Xiaping
LI Xiaoli
LIU Chao
LUO Yuejia
Cite this article:   
GAN Tian,LI Wanqing,TANG Honghong, et al. Exciting the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Influences Moral Intention Processing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.01004
URL:     OR
[1] HUANG Minxue; WANG Yiting; LIAO Junyun; LIU Maohong. Mixed effects of inconsistent reviews on consumers: The moderating roles of product attributes and regulatory focus[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(3): 370-382.
[2] LUO Jun; YE Hang; ZHENG Haoli; JIA Yongmin; CHEN Shu; HUANG Daqiang. Modulating the activities of right and left temporo-parietal junction influences the capability of moral intention processing: A transcranial direct current stimulation study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(2): 228-240.
[3] LI Xin; CHEN Yiwen. Effects of different eWOM supplementary forms on purchase intention: The moderating role of eWOM valence[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(6): 722-732.
[4] ZHANG Shuhua; LIU Zhaoyan. A meta-analysis of the relationship between organizational identification and turnover intention[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(12): 1561-1573.
[5] HUANG Zan, WANG Xinxin. Assortment Structure, Prior Knowledge and Brand Choice[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(5): 663-678.
[6] YANG Yaping; WANG Pei; YIN Zhihui; CHEN Qingwei; FENG Xiaying. The Pattern and Neural Correlates of Unintentional Stereotype Activation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(4): 488-502.
[7] LIANG Fucheng; WANG Xinyi; TANG Weihai. The Effect of Proposer’s Intention, Comparative Payoffs and Absolute Payoffs on the Fairness in Responders with Different Ages[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(3): 353-362.
[8] DENG Xinming. Why Ethical Consumers Don’t Do What They Say: The Study on Factors Influencing Consumers’ Ethical Buying Intention-Behavior Gap[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(7): 1014-1031.
[9] WANG Yingying;LIANG Jiuqing;GUO Chunyan. Effects of Emotional Picture Cues on Directed Forgetting Using the Item Method: An ERPs Study at Encoding[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(6): 740-753.
[10] GAO Zhonghua;ZHAO Chen. Why Is It Difficult to Balance Work and Family? An Analysis Based on Work-Family Boundary Theory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(4): 552-568.
[11] YU Haibo;ZHENG Xiaoming. The Impact of Employee Career Adaptability: Multilevel Analysis[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(6): 680-693.
[12] YANG Ji-Ping,WANG Xing-Chao. Effect of Moral Disengagement on Adolescents’ Aggressive Behavior: Moderated Mediating Effect[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(8): 1075-1085.

SUN Jin, ZHANG Hong-Xia


The Effect of Brand Name Suggestiveness on Consumer Decision Making:The Moderating Roles of Consumer Need for Cognition and Expertise

[J]. , 2012, 44(5): 698-710.
[14] LIU Bang-Hui,PENG Kai-Ping. Challenge and Contribution of Cultural Psychology to Empirical Legal Studies[J]. , 2012, 44(3): 413-426.
[15] WANG Yi-Wen;HUANG Liang;XU Sheng;YUAN Bo;XU Yan-Jiao;LI Hong-Yu. ERP Time Course of Understanding Private versus Communicative Intentions[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(12): 1618-1627.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech