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Moral Motivation and the Basal Forebrain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Roland Zahn, Ricardo de Oliveira-Souza, Jorge Moll

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Early online date13 Nov 2019
Accepted/In press28 Oct 2019
E-pub ahead of print13 Nov 2019
Published1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

King's Authors


Moral motivations drive humans to sacrifice selfish needs to serve the needs of others and internalized sociocultural norms. Over the past two decades, several brain regions have been associated with different aspects of moral cognition and behaviour. Only more recently, however, investigations have highlighted the importance of the basal forebrain for moral motivation. This includes the septo-hypothalamic region, implicated in kinship bonding across mammal species, and the closely connected subgenual frontal cortex. Understanding the neuroanatomy of moral motivation and its impairments will be fundamental for future research aiming to promote prosocial behaviour and mental health.

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