The contributions of prefrontal cortex and executive control to deception: Evidence from activation likelihood estimate meta-analyses

Shawn E. Christ, David C. Van Essen, Jason M. Watson, Lindsay E. Brubaker, Kathleen B. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

213 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous neuroimaging studies have implicated the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nearby brain regions in deception. This is consistent with the hypothesis that lying involves the executive control system. To date, the nature of the contribution of different aspects of executive control to deception, however, remains unclear. In the present study, we utilized an activation likelihood estimate (ALE) method of meta-analysis to quantitatively identify brain regions that are consistently more active for deceptive responses relative to truthful responses across past studies. We then contrasted the results with additional ALE maps generated for 3 different aspects of executive control: working memory, inhibitory control, and task switching. Deception-related regions in dorsolateral PFC and posterior parietal cortex were selectively associated with working memory. Additional deception regions in ventrolateral PFC, anterior insula, and anterior cingulate cortex were associated with multiple aspects of executive control. In contrast, deception-related regions in bilateral inferior parietal lobule were not associated with any of the 3 executive control constructs. Our findings support the notion that executive control processes, particularly working memory, and their associated neural substrates play an integral role in deception. This work provides a foundation for future research on the neurocognitive basis of deception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1566
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume19
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009

Keywords

  • Anterior cingulate
  • FMRI
  • Lie detection
  • Lying
  • Neuroimaging
  • Prefrontal cortex

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