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Neuropsychologia. 2016 Aug;89:403-413. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.07.020. Epub 2016 Jul 20.

Impacts of religious semantic priming on an intertemporal discounting task: Response time effects and neural correlates.

Author information

1
Graduate Division of Religious Studies, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States; Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion, Needham, MA, United States. Electronic address: jrmorgan@bu.edu.
2
Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, United States.
3
School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States.
4
Graduate Division of Religious Studies, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States; Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion, Needham, MA, United States.
5
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, United States.
6
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States.
7
Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, United States; Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States; Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion, Needham, MA, United States; Graduate School, Northcentral University, United States.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that religious primes would influence intertemporal discounting behaviors in neurotypical older adults, but not in participants with Parkinson's disease (PD). Furthermore, we predicted that this priming effect would be related to functional connectivity within neural networks mediating religious cognition, decision-making, reward valuing, and prospection processes. Contrary to past research with young adults, we found a significant positive relationship between religiosity and discounting rates. Religious semantic primes did not reliably shift individual discounting rates. But religious controls did respond more quickly to intertemporal decisions under the religious priming condition than the neutral condition, compared to response time differences among the participants with PD. Differences in response time were significantly associated with functional connectivity between the nucleus accumbens and various regions, including the left anterior cingulate cortex and Brodmann areas 10 and 46 in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These results suggest that religious primes influence discounting behavior via dopaminergic meso-limbic and right dorsolateral prefrontal supporting cognitive valuation and prospection processes.

KEYWORDS:

ACC; DLPFC; Impulsivity; Intertemporal discounting; NAcc; Religious cognition; Religious priming

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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