Brain mechanisms for inferring deceit in the actions of others.
Grèzes J., Frith C., Passingham RE.
During social interactions, it is important to judge accurately whether a person is honest or deceitful. We often use nonverbal cues to infer whether others are trying to deceive us. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we studied subjects watching videos of actors lifting a box and judged whether or not the actors were trying to deceive them concerning the real weight of the box. When the subjects judged the actions as reflecting deceptive intention, there was activation of the amygdala and rostral anterior cingulate cortex. These areas were not activated when subjects made judgements about the beliefs rather than the intentions of others. We suggest that these activations reflect the observers' judgements of social intentions toward themselves and might reflect an emotional response to being deceived.