Gender Differences in Response to Immoral Behaviour in Living and Nonliving Beings: Electrophysiological Evidence

Nasir Yusoff1, *, Chun Ming Chin1, Mohd. Faizal Mohd Zulkifly1
1 Department of Neurosciences, School of Medical Sciences, Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

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© 2023 Yusoff et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Neurosciences, School of Medical Sciences, Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia; E-mail:



Gender is a significant socio-biological determinant of psycho-moral development and contributes to eliciting greater P300 brain potential in the emotional cognition process associated with immoral behavioural patterns.


To investigate the interaction between gender and the moral cognition process in different contexts of immoral behavior.


Twenty-six participants (mean age 24 years old, 16 males) participated in the Event-Related Potential (ERP) session in the Neuroscience Laboratory. In a within-subject experimental design, males and females responded to the oddball task by viewing a random series of 200 trials consisting of different categories of images (i.e., immoral behaviour to living beings, immoral behaviour to nonliving beings, and neutral images). The electrical brain potential of the P300 component was captured using the international 10/20 system in several brain regions, i.e., frontoparietal, frontal, central, temporal, and occipital.


Females indicated greater P300 amplitude in the frontoparietal brain region than males. Both genders exhibited greater brain potential activation while responding to images of living beings than nonliving beings and neutral images.


The frontoparietal region of the brain is the most significant area linked to the relationship between the processing of moral cognition and gender differences. In moral contextualising, females demonstrate greater emotional cognition than males. Immoral behaviour toward living beings generates a more humanistic sense than nonliving beings and neutral images, which are seen in both males and females. The discovery has important implications for understanding gender-associated moral cognition from a neuroscience perspective.

Keywords: Immoral behaviour, Moral cognition, P300 component, Event-related potential, Gender difference, Socio-biological determinant.