A team of researchers from major European universities reported new evidence that damages to a part of the amygdala plays a central role in economic decision making that involves trust in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Jan. 21, 2013.
The researchers found that individuals with a damaged basolateral amygdala (BLA) but functional central-medial amygdala (CMA) transferred significantly more money to an unfamiliar trustee than healthy individuals did, despite the potential for the trustee to betray their trust and keep all the money.
The behavior was not due to a difference in risk taking preferences or because BLA-damaged individuals expected high returns or perceived people as trustworthy.
The individuals with BLA damage could not provide a rationale for their generosity, and invested nearly twice as much as healthy individuals even though they had strong expectations of unfair return.
Previous rodent research has implicated the BLA in regulating instrumental behaviors, such as those based on rational cost benefit analyses.
The authors conclude the BLA might be crucial for instrumental behaviors in social-economic interactions.
This is the opportunity of a life time for trail lawyers.
If a person has damage to the BLA then there exists a justifiable argument that that person’s investment in a house that they could not afford was the result of mental defect and a lending organization or the U. S. government is responsible for compensating the afflicted person to the extent of their losses with damages f that person purchased a house they could not afford with a variable interest rate that the individual knew they would not be able to pay.
Likewise, any lender convicted of violating previous or present lending laws has an out from prosecution if they can show evidence of a malfunctioning BLA. This out is available to the politicians who passed the laws allowing banks and other lenders to precipitate the housing bubble and could be used in future as a defense for any investment swindle.
Any economic failure on any person’s part who can demonstrate a malfunctioning BLA is now arguably the fault of the investment firm or someone else and never the individual’s fault.
Jack van Honk a,b,1,2, Christoph Eisenegger c,d,1,2, David Terburg a,b, Dan J. Stein b, and
Barak Morgan e
a Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, 3584 CS, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Departments of b Psychiatry and eHuman Biology (MRC/UCT Medical Imaging Research Unit), University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa; c Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1TN, United Kingdom; and d Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria