Neuroanatomical correlates of forgiving unintentional harms
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Description: Mature moral judgments rely on the consideration of the perpetrator’s mental state as well as the harmfulness of the outcomes produced. Prior work has focused primarily on the functional correlates of how intent information is neurally represented for moral judgments, but few studies have investigated whether individual differences in neuroanatomy can also explain variation in moral judgments. In the current study, we conducted voxel-based morphometry analyses combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging to address this question. We found that local grey matter volume in left anterior superior temporal sulcus, a region in the functionally defined theory of mind or mentalizing network, was associated with the degree to which participants relied on information about innocent intentions to forgive accidental harms. Our findings provide further support for the key role of mentalizing in the forgiveness of accidental harms and contribute preliminary evidence for the neuroanatomical basis of individual differences in moral judgments.