Brain and Law: An EEG Study of How We Decide or Not to Implement a Law

DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.412054   PDF   HTML   XML   3,564 Downloads   4,135 Views   Citations


Brazil has introduced a referendum regarding the prohibition of firearm commerce and propaganda arguments have invoked socially and personally driven issues in the promotion of voting in favor of and against firearm control, respectively. Here, we used different techniques to study the brain activity associated with a voter’s perception of the truthfulness of these arguments and their influence on voting decisions. Low-resolution tomography was used to identify the possible different sets of neurons activated in the analysis of the different types of propaganda. Linear correlation was used to calculate the amount information H(ei) provided to different electrodes about how these sets of neurons enroll themselves to carry out this cognitive analysis. The results clearly showed that vote decision was not influenced by arguments that were introduced by propaganda, which was typically driven by specific social or self-interest motives. However, different neural circuits were identified in the analysis of each type of propaganda argument, independently of the declared vote (for or against the control) intention.

Share and Cite:

da Rocha, A. , Massad, E. , Rocha, F. and Burattini, M. (2014) Brain and Law: An EEG Study of How We Decide or Not to Implement a Law. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 4, 559-578. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2014.412054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Rocha, A.F. (2013) Toward a Better Understanding of the Relationship between Neurosciences and Law. Law & Neuroscience Journal, 4.
[2] Hobbes, T. (1651) Leviathan. Penguin Classics, Penguin Books, New York.
[3] Rousseau, J.J. (1968) Du Contrat Social: Texte Original. Penguin Books Limited, London.
[4] Hart, H.L.A. (1961) Concept of Law. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
[5] Kelsen, H. (1960) Reine Rechteslehre. Verlag Fraz Deuticke, Viena.
[6] Rocha, A.F., Theoto, F., Burattini, M.N. and Massad, E. (2010) Neurodynamics of an Election. Brain Research, 1351, 198-211.
[7] Frith, C.D. and Frith, U. (2006) The Neural Basis of Mentalizing. Neuron, 50, 531-534.
[8] Cavanna, A.R. and Trimble, M.R. (2006) The Precuneus: A Review of Its Functional Anatomy and Behavioral Correlates. Brain, 129, 564-583.
[9] Hartwright, C.E., Apperly, I.A. and Hansen, P.C. (2006) Multiple Roles for Executive Control in Belief-Desire Reasoning: Distinct Neural Networks Are Recruited for Self Perspective Inhibition and Complexity of Reasoning. NeuroImage, 61, 921-930.
[10] Van den Ouden, H.E.M., Frith, U., Frith, C. and Blakemore, S.-J. (2005) Thinking about Intentions. NeuroImage, 28, 787-796.
[11] Pasqual-Marqui, R.D., Esslen, M., Kochi, K. and Lehmann, D. (2002) Functional Imaging with Low-Resolution Brain Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA): A Review. Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, 24, 91-95.
[12] Rocha, F.T., Rocha, A.F., Massad, E. and Menezes, R.X. (2005) Brain Mappings of the Arithmetic Processing in Children and Adults. Cognitive Brain Research, 22, 359-372.
[13] Daw, N.D., O’Doherty, J.P., Dayan, P., Seymor, B. and Dolan, R.J. (2006) Cortical Substrates for Exploratory Decisions in Humans. Nature, 441, 876-879.
[14] Addis, D.R. and Schacter, D.L. (2008) Constructive Episodic Simulation: Temporal Distance and Detail of Past and Future Events Modulate Hippocampal Engagement. Hippocampus, 18, 227-237.
[15] Cabeza, R., Dolcos, F., Graham, R. and Nyberg, L. (2002) Similarities and Differences in the Neural Correlates of Episodic Memory Retrieval and Working Memory. Neuroimagen, 16, 317-330.
[16] Lepage, M., Ghaffar, O., Nyberg, L. and Tulving, E. (2000) Prefrontal Cortex and Episodic Memory Retrieval Mode Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 97, 506-511.
[17] Platel, H., Baron, J.-C., Desgranges, B., Bernard, F. and Eustache, F. (2003) Semantic and Episodic Memory of Music Are Subserved by Distinct Neural Networks. NeuroImage, 20, 244-256.
[18] Ranganath, C., Johnson, M.K. and D’ésposito, M. (2003) Prefrontal Activity Associated with Working Memory and Episodic Long-Term Memory. Neuropsychologia, 41, 378-389.
[19] Rugg, M.D., Fletcher, P.C., Frith, C.D., Frackowiak, R.S.J. and Dolan, R.J. (1996) Differential Activation of the Prefrontal Cortex in Successful and Unsuccessful Memory Retrieval. Brain, 119, 2073-2083.
[20] Baron, J.C. and Jones, T. (2012) Oxygen Metabolism, Oxygen Extraction and Positron Emission Tomography: Historical Perspective and Impact on Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. Neuroimage, 61, 492-504.
[21] Scheeringa, R., Petersson, K.M., Oostenveld, R., Norris, D.G., Hagoort, P. and Bastiaansen, M.C.M. (2009) Trial-by-Trial Coupling between EEG and BOLD Identifies Networks Related to Alpha and Theta EEG Power Increases during Working Memory Maintenance NeuroImage, 44, 1224-1238.
[22] Canessa, N., Gorini, A., Cappa, S.F., Piattelli-Palmarini, M., Danna, M., Fazio, F. and Perani, D. (2005) The Effect of Social Content on Deductive Reasoning: An fMRI Study. Human Brain Mapping, 26, 30-43.
[23] Henson, R.N.A., Shallice, T. and Dolan, R.J. (1999) Right Prefrontal Cortex and Episodic Memoryretrieval: A Functional MRI Test of the Monitoring Hypothesis. Brain, 122, 1367-1381.
[24] Knauff, K., Mulack, T., Kassubek, J., Salih, H.R. and Greenlee, M.W. (2002) Spatial Imagery in Deductive Reasoning: A Functional MRI Study. Cognitive Brain Research, 13, 203-212.
[25] Goel, V. and Dolan, R.J. (2001) Functional Neuroanatomy of Three-Term Relational Reasoning. Neuropsychologia, 39, 901-909.
[26] Mackey, A.P., Miller Singley, A.T. and Bunge, S.A. (2013) Intensive Reasoning Training Alters Patterns of Brain Connectivity at Rest. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 4796-4803.
[27] Vollm, B.A., Taylor, A.N.W., Richardson, P., Corcoran, R., Stirling, J., McKie, S., et al. (2006) Neuronal Correlates of Theory of Mind and Empathy: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study in a Nonverbal Task. NeuroImage, 29, 90-98.
[28] Lundstrom, B.N., Ingvar, M. and Petersson, K.M. (2005) The Role of Percuneus and Frontal Cortex during Source Memory Episodic Retrieval. NeuroImage, 27, 824-834.
[29] Van der Meer, L., Groenewold, N.A., Nolen, W.A., Pijnenborg, M. and Aleman, A. (2011) Inhibit Yourself and Understand the Other: Neural Basis of Distinct Processes Underlying Theory of Mind. NeuroImage, 56, 2364-2374.
[30] Martino, J., Gabarrós, A., Deus, J., Juncadella, M., Acebes, J.J., Torres, A. and Pujol, J. (2011) Intrasurgical Mapping of Complex Motor Function in the Superior Frontal Gyrus. Neuroscience, 179, 131-142.
[31] Nakagawa, S., Nishiike, S., Tonoike, M., Takeda, N. and Kubo, T. (2002) Measurements of Brain Magnetic Fields Associated with Apparent Self-Motion. International Congress Series, 1232, 367-371.
[32] Samson, D., Apperly, I.A., Chiavarino, C. and Humphreys, G.W. (2004) Left Tempoparietal Junction Is Necessary for Representing Someone Else’s Belief. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 499-500.
[33] Sulpizio, V., Committeri, G., Lambrey, S., Berthoz, A. and Galati, G. (2013) Selective Role of Lingual/Parahippocampal Gyrus and Retrosplenial Complex in Spatial Memory across Viewpoint Changes Relative to the Environmental Reference Frame. Behavioral Brain Research, 242, 62-75.
[34] Bullmore, E. and Sporns, O. (2009) Complex Brain Networks: Graph Theoretical Analysis of Structural and Functional Systems. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10, 186-198.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.