CCN faculty Scott Huettel and his collaborators study trust, collaboration and altruism.

January 15, 2016

As shown in this functional MRI image, the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in processing emotions, is more active in people who are blaming others for their negative actions. Photo by Lawrence Ngo.


New research from CCN faculty Scott Huettel and his collaborators helps explain the paradox of why we are quick to blame people for their actions, but slower to give them credit. Published Dec. 4 in Scientific Reports, the Duke study is “the first to use neuroscience research tools to try to explain why people are biased toward treating negative actions as intentional but positive actions as unintentional,” said the study’s lead author Lawrence Ngo, now a first-year resident in internal medicine at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C.

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The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.


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