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date: 26 November 2022

A Somatic Marker Perspective of Political Decision Makinglocked

A Somatic Marker Perspective of Political Decision Makinglocked

  • Xavier Noël, Xavier NoëlLaboratory of Medical Psychology and Addiction, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Nematolla JaafariNematolla JaafariLaboratory of Experimental and Clinical Neuroscience, University of Poiters
  •  and Antoine BecharaAntoine BecharaDepartment of Psychology, University of Southern California


Decisions on matters affecting a group by a member of that group (e.g., decisions on a political choice) engage a mix of cognitive and emotion-based resources. Political decision-making involves rationality, but also empathy, intuition, compassion, morality, and fairness. Importantly, coping with uncertainty, assuming risk, dealing with huge responsibilities and resisting disappointment and considerable pressure are also crucial. Some of those decision-making elements from a neurocognitive framework proposed under the somatic marker hypothesis (SMH) are developed here. Based on the observation of abnormal decision-making characterizing patients with ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), the SMH affords discussions of mechanisms involved in antisocial decision-making in the political realm, such as engaging in immoral and corrupt behaviors. In addition, the SMH sheds light on pivotal attributes required for good leadership and governance, such as resistance to pressure, risk-taking, seduction, and dominance, discussed with respect to modern theories of psychopathic tendencies in the context of political decision-making.


  • Governance/Political Change

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