Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Future of Morality

Emotion Review 3 (3):308-309 (2011)
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Abstract

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) is crucial for moral behavior, yet the mechanism through which the VMPFC promotes moral behavior remains unclear. In this article, we emphasize that moral choice is often intertemporal, requiring foregoing short-term gains in favor of future outcomes of larger value. We propose that the VMPFC may be necessary for mental time travel (MTT), a cognitive process enabling vivid preexperiencing of future outcomes. By providing anticipated outcomes that inform decisions, MTT may promote farsighted, moral behaviors

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