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The interplay of emotional and social conceptual processes during moral reasoning in frontotemporal dementia.

额颞叶痴呆道德推理过程中情绪和社会概念过程的相互作用。

  • 影响因子:0
  • DOI:10.1093/brain/awaa435
  • 作者列表:"Strikwerda-Brown C","Ramanan S","Goldberg ZL","Mothakunnel A","Hodges JR","Ahmed RM","Piguet O","Irish M
  • 发表时间:2021-04-12
Abstract

:Cooperative social behaviour in humans hinges upon our unique ability to make appropriate moral decisions in accordance with our ethical values. The complexity of the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying moral reasoning is revealed when this capacity breaks down. Patients with the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) display striking moral transgressions in the context of atrophy to frontotemporal regions supporting affective and social conceptual processing. Developmental studies have highlighted the importance of social knowledge to moral decision making in children, yet the role of social knowledge in relation to moral reasoning impairments in neurodegeneration has largely been overlooked. Here, we sought to examine the role of affective and social conceptual processes in personal moral reasoning in bvFTD, and their relationship to the integrity and structural connectivity of frontotemporal brain regions. Personal moral reasoning across varying degrees of conflict was assessed in 26 bvFTD patients and compared with demographically matched Alzheimer's disease patients (n = 14), and healthy older adults (n = 22). Following each moral decision, we directly probed participants' subjective emotional experience as an index of their affective response, while social norm knowledge was assessed via an independent task. While groups did not differ significantly in terms of their moral decisions, bvFTD patients reported feeling 'better' about their decisions than healthy control subjects. In other words, although bvFTD patients could adjudicate between different courses of action in the moral scenarios, their affective responses to these decisions were highly irregular. This blunted emotional reaction was exclusive to the personal high-conflict condition, with 61.5% of bvFTD patients reporting feeling 'extremely good' about their decisions, and was correlated with reduced knowledge of socially acceptable behaviour. Voxel-based morphometry analyses revealed a distributed network of frontal, subcortical, and lateral temporal grey matter regions involved in the attenuated affective response to moral conflict in bvFTD. Crucially, diffusion-tensor imaging implicated the uncinate fasciculus as the pathway by which social conceptual knowledge may influence emotional reactions to personal high-conflict moral dilemmas in bvFTD. Our findings suggest that altered moral behaviour in bvFTD reflects the dynamic interplay between degraded social conceptual knowledge and blunted affective responsiveness, attributable to atrophy of, and impaired information transfer between, frontal and temporal cortices. Delineating the mechanisms of impaired morality in bvFTD provides crucial clinical information for understanding and treating this challenging symptom, which may help pave the way for targeted behavioural interventions.

摘要

: 人类的合作社会行为取决于我们根据道德价值观做出适当道德决定的独特能力。当这种能力崩溃时,道德推理背后的神经认知机制的复杂性被揭示出来。额颞叶痴呆 (bvFTD) 行为变异患者在萎缩到支持情感和社会概念加工的额颞叶区域的背景下表现出惊人的道德越轨。发展研究强调了社会知识对儿童道德决策的重要性,然而社会知识在神经变性中与道德推理障碍有关的作用在很大程度上被忽视了。在这里,我们试图研究情感和社会概念过程在bvFTD个人道德推理中的作用,以及它们与额颞脑区完整性和结构连通性的关系。在26名bvFTD患者中评估了不同程度冲突的个人道德推理,并与人口统计学匹配的阿尔茨海默病患者 (n   =   14) 和健康老年人 (n   =   22) 进行了比较。在每个道德决定之后,我们直接探索参与者的主观情绪体验作为他们情感反应的指标,而社会规范知识通过独立的任务进行评估。虽然各组在道德决定方面没有显著差异,但bvFTD患者报告说,他们对自己的决定感觉比健康对照受试者 “更好”。换句话说,尽管bvFTD患者可以在道德情景中的不同行动方案之间做出裁决,但他们对这些决定的情感反应是非常不规则的。这种迟钝的情绪反应是个人高冲突状况所独有的,61.5% 的bvFTD患者报告说他们对自己的决定感到 “非常好”,并且与对社会可接受行为的了解减少相关。基于体素的形态计量学分析揭示了额叶、皮层下和侧颞灰质区域的分布网络,参与bvFTD对道德冲突的衰减情感反应。至关重要的是,扩散张量成像暗示钩状束是社会概念知识可能影响bvFTD中个人高度冲突道德困境的情绪反应的途径。我们的研究结果表明,bvFTD中道德行为的改变反映了退化的社会概念知识和迟钝的情感反应性之间的动态相互作用,这可归因于额叶皮层和颞叶皮层之间的萎缩和信息传递受损。描绘bvFTD中道德受损的机制为理解和治疗这一具有挑战性的症状提供了至关重要的临床信息,这可能有助于为有针对性的行为干预铺平道路。

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