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Torben Ellegaard Lund

How the brain responds to the destruction of money

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  • Department of Philosophy
  • Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience
  • Section for Anthropology and Ethnography
Is our attitude to money like that to any other tool even though its use is symbolic and is not implemented in its physical structure? Knowledge of the functional use of concrete tools, such as hammers or screwdrivers, has been associated with activation of a left hemisphere network including the posterior temporal cortex, supramarginal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and lateral precuneus. Here we demonstrate that observing bank notes being cut up or torn, a critical violation of their function, elicits activation within the same temporo-parietal network. Moreover, this activation is the greater the higher the value of the banknote. This lends plausibility to a genuinely psychological interpretation of the explanation of money as a tool for parametrically symbolizing exchange.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Research areas

  • money, functional use, social object, tool, fMRI

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