Why do people pirate? A neuroimaging investigation

Eres, Robert, Louis, Winnifred R. and Molenberghs, Pascal (2016) Why do people pirate? A neuroimaging investigation. Social Neuroscience, 1-13. doi:10.1080/17470919.2016.1179671

Author Eres, Robert
Louis, Winnifred R.
Molenberghs, Pascal
Title Why do people pirate? A neuroimaging investigation
Journal name Social Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1747-0927
Publication date 2016-05-08
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/17470919.2016.1179671
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract It is not uncommon for people to openly admit to pirating information from the internet despite the known legal consequences. Those same people are often less inclined to steal the same physical item from a shop. This raises the question, why do people have fewer reservations with stealing intangible items compared to tangible? Using questionnaires and fMRI we provide evidence across three studies as to the differences between tangible and intangible theft. In a questionnaire (Study 1), participants revealed that across different conditions they were more willing to steal intangible compared to tangible goods. Study 2a used fMRI to reveal that a network involved in imagining objects was more active when participants were representing intangible versus tangible objects, suggesting people have greater difficulty representing intangible items. Study 2b used fMRI to show that when stealing tangible objects versus intangible, participants had increased activation in left lateral orbitofrontal cortex, an area typically activated in response to morally laden situations. The findings from the current investigation provide novel insights into the higher prevalence of intangible theft and suggest that differential neural representation of tangible and intangible items may, in part, explain why people are more willing to steal intangible items.
Keyword FMRI
Orbitofrontal cortex
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Tue, 24 May 2016, 00:32:31 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)