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News Archive

MonthlyFDecember 2023

202312.06 Not in my backyard: Brain bases of accepting unfavorable development (Paper publication) Posted in RESEARCH

The so-called NIMBY ("not in my back yard") issue, such as the construction of a waste treatment plant, can be viewed as a social dilemma in which an individual's decision to prevent the worst possible outcome for himself/herself undermines the public interest, as well as a type of moral dilemma in which a "majority or minority" decision is required. In this study, we used functional MRI to examine the cognitive neuroscientific processes involved in the "majority-minority" decision-making process in an in-group condition in which participants' own worst outcome can be predicted by the location of the unfavorable facility, and an out-group condition in which the worst outcome is unlikely to occur. The results showed that while activity in the right angular gyrus, which is associated with attention to the worst outcome, did not differ between the inner and outer group conditions, activity in the amygdala was significantly higher in the inner group condition, and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex also tended to be more active in the inner group condition. These results suggest neuroscientifically that people placed in the context of the unfavorable facility problem pay attention not only to the worst outcomes of the inner group but also to those of the outer group, and that cognitive processes that derive integrated judgments are activated in the inner group condition, accompanied by an aversion to utilitarian judgments that give priority to the majority.
The study was conducted as an interdisciplinary collaboration among Kwansei Gakuin University, Meio University, Kanto Gakuin University, and Tohoku University, using MRI equipment at the Brain MRI Center of the Institute of Development, Aging, and Cancer, and was published in Social Neuroscience. (Oba)