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The neural basis of responsibility attribution in decision-making.

Li P, Shen Y, Sui X, Chen C, Feng T, Li H, Holroyd C - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: In two previous event-related brain potential (ERP) studies we found that personal responsibility modulated outcome evaluation in gambling tasks.Specifically, right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ) was associated with social pride whereas dorsal striatum and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were related to reinforcement of behaviors leading to personal gain.The present study provides evidence that the RTPJ is an important region for determining whether self-generated behaviors are deserving of praise in a social context.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Center of Psychological Development and Education, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China ; School of Psychology, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China.

ABSTRACT
Social responsibility links personal behavior with societal expectations and plays a key role in affecting an agent's emotional state following a decision. However, the neural basis of responsibility attribution remains unclear. In two previous event-related brain potential (ERP) studies we found that personal responsibility modulated outcome evaluation in gambling tasks. Here we conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study to identify particular brain regions that mediate responsibility attribution. In a context involving team cooperation, participants completed a task with their teammates and on each trial received feedback about team success and individual success sequentially. We found that brain activity differed between conditions involving team success vs. team failure. Further, different brain regions were associated with reinforcement of behavior by social praise vs. monetary reward. Specifically, right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ) was associated with social pride whereas dorsal striatum and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were related to reinforcement of behaviors leading to personal gain. The present study provides evidence that the RTPJ is an important region for determining whether self-generated behaviors are deserving of praise in a social context.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Scatter plots showing correlations between behavioral data and fMRI beta values.Left panel: the difference in subjective ratings of pride (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in RTPJ (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions. Right panel: the difference in △ RT (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in posterior cerebellum (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions.
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pone-0080389-g006: Scatter plots showing correlations between behavioral data and fMRI beta values.Left panel: the difference in subjective ratings of pride (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in RTPJ (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions. Right panel: the difference in △ RT (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in posterior cerebellum (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions.

Mentions: Although we assumed that these fMRI results reflect responsibility attribution, it also possible that they are associated with more general cognitive functions such as performance monitoring (e.g., error detection and correction). For example, brain region activations associated with high pride might be due to the correctness of the participant’s response rather than to responsibility per se. To examine this possibility, we looked for brain areas sensitive to responsibility attribution by controlling for individual participant performance. Specifically, we contrasted the fMRI data associated with the HP condition with that of the MP condition, thereby equating for individual performance (because participants received positive feedback for their responses in both of these conditions; Figure 1b). Behavioral data and fMRI beta values associated with the MP condition were subtracted from those of the HP condition and the difference values submitted to a correlation analysis. The difference in pride was significantly correlated with the difference in BOLD values between the conditions for the right TPJ, r = 0.52, p <.05 (Figure 6): people who exhibited larger differences in right TPJ activation between the HP and MP conditions tended to report more pride in the HP condition relative to the MP condition, whereas people who had comparable activations between the HP and MP conditions reported more pride in the MP condition relative to the HP condition (Figure 6, left panel). As well, the difference in activation associated with a region in the posterior cerebellum (Declive) was negative correlated with the difference in △RT, r = -0.63, p <.02.


The neural basis of responsibility attribution in decision-making.

Li P, Shen Y, Sui X, Chen C, Feng T, Li H, Holroyd C - PLoS ONE (2013)

Scatter plots showing correlations between behavioral data and fMRI beta values.Left panel: the difference in subjective ratings of pride (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in RTPJ (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions. Right panel: the difference in △ RT (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in posterior cerebellum (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3818257&req=5

pone-0080389-g006: Scatter plots showing correlations between behavioral data and fMRI beta values.Left panel: the difference in subjective ratings of pride (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in RTPJ (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions. Right panel: the difference in △ RT (X axis) and the difference in BOLD signal activation in posterior cerebellum (Y axis) between the HP and MP conditions.
Mentions: Although we assumed that these fMRI results reflect responsibility attribution, it also possible that they are associated with more general cognitive functions such as performance monitoring (e.g., error detection and correction). For example, brain region activations associated with high pride might be due to the correctness of the participant’s response rather than to responsibility per se. To examine this possibility, we looked for brain areas sensitive to responsibility attribution by controlling for individual participant performance. Specifically, we contrasted the fMRI data associated with the HP condition with that of the MP condition, thereby equating for individual performance (because participants received positive feedback for their responses in both of these conditions; Figure 1b). Behavioral data and fMRI beta values associated with the MP condition were subtracted from those of the HP condition and the difference values submitted to a correlation analysis. The difference in pride was significantly correlated with the difference in BOLD values between the conditions for the right TPJ, r = 0.52, p <.05 (Figure 6): people who exhibited larger differences in right TPJ activation between the HP and MP conditions tended to report more pride in the HP condition relative to the MP condition, whereas people who had comparable activations between the HP and MP conditions reported more pride in the MP condition relative to the HP condition (Figure 6, left panel). As well, the difference in activation associated with a region in the posterior cerebellum (Declive) was negative correlated with the difference in △RT, r = -0.63, p <.02.

Bottom Line: In two previous event-related brain potential (ERP) studies we found that personal responsibility modulated outcome evaluation in gambling tasks.Specifically, right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ) was associated with social pride whereas dorsal striatum and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were related to reinforcement of behaviors leading to personal gain.The present study provides evidence that the RTPJ is an important region for determining whether self-generated behaviors are deserving of praise in a social context.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Research Center of Psychological Development and Education, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China ; School of Psychology, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian, China.

ABSTRACT
Social responsibility links personal behavior with societal expectations and plays a key role in affecting an agent's emotional state following a decision. However, the neural basis of responsibility attribution remains unclear. In two previous event-related brain potential (ERP) studies we found that personal responsibility modulated outcome evaluation in gambling tasks. Here we conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study to identify particular brain regions that mediate responsibility attribution. In a context involving team cooperation, participants completed a task with their teammates and on each trial received feedback about team success and individual success sequentially. We found that brain activity differed between conditions involving team success vs. team failure. Further, different brain regions were associated with reinforcement of behavior by social praise vs. monetary reward. Specifically, right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ) was associated with social pride whereas dorsal striatum and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were related to reinforcement of behaviors leading to personal gain. The present study provides evidence that the RTPJ is an important region for determining whether self-generated behaviors are deserving of praise in a social context.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus