ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (12): 2064-2071.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.02064

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Cognitive and Emotional Activities of Guilt and the Corresponding Brain Network

LENG Bingbing1; WANG Xiangling1; GAO Heming1; LI Fuhong1,2   

  1. (1 Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Science, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China)
    (2 School of Psychology, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China)
  • Received:2015-04-20 Online:2015-12-15 Published:2015-12-15
  • Contact: LI Fuhong,


Guilt is a kind of introspection of one’s conscience after s/he harms others or violates the moral rules, and guilt is also a negative emotional experience responsible for such behavior. It plays an important role in our moral rules and interpersonal society. Researchers mainly used paradigms such as self-report, situational simulation, mishap and economic game to investigate the occurrence, development and function of guilt. In recent years, they attempt to reveal the brain mechanism of guilt and have found that the main brain areas activated by guilt are prefrontal cortex and insula. According to these studies, prefrontal cortex may be related to the cognitive components of guilt, while insula mainly relates to its emotion components. More researches by using multiple advanced technologies and methods are necessary to further study the cognitive neural mechanism of guilt.

Key words: guilt, senior emotion, prefrontal cortex, insula