Neural mechanisms of deception in a social context: an fMRI replication study

Maya Zheltyakova, Maxim Kireev, Alexander Korotkov, Svyatoslav Medvedev

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2 Scopus citations


Deception is a form of manipulation aimed at misleading another person by conveying false or truthful messages. Manipulative truthful statements could be considered as sophisticated deception and elicit an increased cognitive load. However, only one fMRI study reported its neural correlates. To provide independent evidence for sophisticated deception, we carried out an fMRI study replicating the experimental paradigm and Bayesian statistical approach utilized in that study. During the experiment, participants played a game against an opponent by sending deliberate deceptive or honest messages. Compared to truth-telling, deceptive intentions, regardless of how they were fulfilled, were associated with increased BOLD signals in the bilateral temporoparietal junction (TPJ), left precuneus, and right superior temporal sulcus (STS). The right TPJ participates in the attribution of mental states, acting in a social context, and moral behaviour. Moreover, the other revealed brain areas have been considered nodes in the theory of mind brain neural system. Therefore, the obtained results reflect an increased demand for socio‑cognitive processes associated with deceptive intentions. We replicated the original study showing the involvement of the right TPJ and expanded upon it by revealing the involvement of the left TPJ, left precuneus and right STS in actions with deceptive intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10713
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020

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