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  1. Katja Wiech, Guy Kahane, Nicholas Shackel, Miguel Farias, Julian Savulescu & Irene Tracey (2013). Cold or Calculating? Reduced Activity in the Subgenual Cingulate Cortex Reflects Decreased Emotional Aversion to Harming in Counterintuitive Utilitarian Judgment. Cognition 126 (3):364-372.
    Recent research on moral decision-making has suggested that many common moral judgments are based on immediate intuitions. However, some individuals arrive at highly counterintuitive utilitarian conclusions about when it is permissible to harm other individuals. Such utilitarian judgments have been attributed to effortful reasoning that has overcome our natural emotional aversion to harming others. Recent studies, however, suggest that such utilitarian judgments might also result from a decreased aversion to harming others, due to a deficit in empathic concern and social (...)
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  2. Guy Kahane, Katja Wiech, Nicholas Shackel, Miguel Farias, Julian Savulescu & Irene Tracey (2012). The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 7 (4):393-402.
    Neuroimaging studies on moral decision-making have thus far largely focused on differences between moral judgments with opposing utilitarian (well-being maximizing) and deontological (duty-based) content. However, these studies have investigated moral dilemmas involving extreme situations, and did not control for two distinct dimensions of moral judgment: whether or not it is intuitive (immediately compelling to most people) and whether it is utilitarian or deontological in content. By contrasting dilemmas where utilitarian judgments are counterintuitive with dilemmas in which they are intuitive, we (...)
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  3. Katja Wiech, Miguel Farias, Guy Kahane, Nicholas Shackel, Wiebke Tiede & Irene Tracey, An fMRI Study Measuring Analgesia Enhanced by Religion as a Belief System.
    Although religious belief is often claimed to help with physical ailments including pain, it is unclear what psychological and neural mechanisms underlie the influence of religious belief on pain. By analogy to other top-down processes of pain modulation we hypothesized that religious belief helps believers reinterpret the emotional significance of pain, leading to emotional detachment from it. Recent findings on emotion regulation support a role for the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex , a region also important for driving top-down pain inhibitory (...)
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  4. Katja Wiech, Markus Ploner & Irene Tracey (2008). Neurocognitive Aspects of Pain Perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (8):306-313.
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