Social attributions in patients with ventromedial prefrontal hypoperfusion.

Jenny Kestemont, Arno Van Mieghem, Kurt Beeckmans, Frank Van Overwalle, Marie Vandekerckhove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the medial prefrontal cortex is involved in attributions on enduring and abstract trait characteristics of persons, but not in causal attributions of temporary here-and-now events. Moreover, the neural representation of trait information is thought to be located in the ventral part of the medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). In order to verify this latter finding, this study compared the performance of 8 patients with hypoperfusion of the vmPFC, 10 with hypoperfusion excluding the vmPFC and 15 healthy controls on trait and causal attribution questionnaires consisting of several events presented in brief written scenarios. We also investigated whether vmPFC hypoperfusion influenced the experienced intensity of the negative or positive valence of the events. Our results showed that patients with ventral hypoperfusion performed significantly worse on trait attributions in comparison with the non-vmPFC group and healthy controls. All groups performed equally well on causal attributions. These findings support previous research suggesting that the vmPFC is critically involved in enduring trait attribution, but not in temporary causal attribution. Considering the emotional experience of valence, the findings showed more intense valence ratings for negative events and persons. This confirms the role of the vmPFC in the modulation and regulation of negative emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-662
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Trait Attribution
  • Causal Attribution
  • Valence Attribution
  • Hypoperfusion


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