Framing effect following bilateral amygdala lesion

Article English OPEN
Talmi, Deborah ; Hurlemann, René ; Patin, Alexandra ; Dolan, Raymond J. (2010)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Neuropsychologia, volume 48, issue 6, pages 1,823-1,827 (issn: 0028-3932, eissn: 1873-3514)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.03.005, pmc: PMC2877879
  • Subject: Emotion | Urbach-Wiethe | Decision making | Experimental and Cognitive Psychology | Behavioral Neuroscience | Risk | Rationality | Cognitive Neuroscience | Brain-lesion | Article

A paradigmatic example of an emotional bias in decision making is the framing effect, where the manner in which a choice is posed – as a potential loss or a potential gain – systematically biases an ensuing decision. Two fMRI studies have shown that the activation in the amygdala is modulated by the framing effect. Here, contrary to an expectation based on these studies, we show that two patients with Urbach-Wiethe (UW) disease, a rare condition associated with congenital, complete bilateral amygdala degeneration, exhibit an intact framing effect. However, choice preference in these patients did show a qualitatively distinct pattern compared to controls evident in an increased propensity to gamble, indicating that loss of amygdala function does exert an overall influence on risk-taking. These findings suggest either that amygdala does contribute to decision making but does not play a causal role in framing, or that UW is not a pure lesion model of amygdala function.
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