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Brain mechanisms of social comparison and their influence on the reward system.

Kedia G, Mussweiler T, Linden DE - Neuroreport (2014)

Bottom Line: We discuss recent findings on the consequences of social comparison on the brain processing of outcomes and highlight the role of the brain's reward system.Moreover, we analyze the relationship between the brain networks involved in social comparisons and those active during other forms of cognitive and perceptual comparison.Finally, we discuss potential future questions that research on the neural correlates of social comparison could address.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: aDepartment of Psychology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany bSchool of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK cDepartment of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Whenever we interact with others, we judge them and whenever we make such judgments, we compare them with ourselves, other people, or internalized standards. Countless social psychological experiments have shown that comparative thinking plays a ubiquitous role in person perception and social cognition as a whole. The topic of social comparison has recently aroused the interest of social neuroscientists, who have begun to investigate its neural underpinnings. The present article provides an overview of these neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies. We discuss recent findings on the consequences of social comparison on the brain processing of outcomes and highlight the role of the brain's reward system. Moreover, we analyze the relationship between the brain networks involved in social comparisons and those active during other forms of cognitive and perceptual comparison. Finally, we discuss potential future questions that research on the neural correlates of social comparison could address.

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People tend to consider that they possess more desirable personalities than others. At the brain level, this above-average effect comes with a reduction in medial orbitofrontal cortex activity. Reprinted from Beer and Hughes 77 with permission from Elsevier. Adaptations are themselves works protected by copyright. So in order to publish this adaptation, authorization must be obtained both from the owner of the copyright in the original work and from the owner of copyright in the translation or adaptation.
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Figure 5: People tend to consider that they possess more desirable personalities than others. At the brain level, this above-average effect comes with a reduction in medial orbitofrontal cortex activity. Reprinted from Beer and Hughes 77 with permission from Elsevier. Adaptations are themselves works protected by copyright. So in order to publish this adaptation, authorization must be obtained both from the owner of the copyright in the original work and from the owner of copyright in the translation or adaptation.

Mentions: In general, the involvement of the comparative frontoparietal network should be tested for a broader range of self–other comparisons: it is still unclear whether self–other comparisons involve a distance effect and whether this distance effect relies on the activity of the same frontoparietal network as other–other comparisons. When comparing themselves with others, people show biases that may influence comparative brain processes. For example, people have a tendency to overestimate their qualities and to consider themselves as better than average 76. At the brain level, this biased evaluation occurs with decreased activation of the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC; see Fig. 5 and Beer and Hughes 77). In this context, the mOFC may enable one to correct one’s initial biased evaluation and shift from one’s natural response tendency 78–80. So far, the question of whether (and how) self-related biases influence comparison processes has not received much attention. Do self–other comparisons rely on the same frontoparietal network as other–other and nonsocial comparisons? If so, is this network modulated by self-related brain regions, such as the mOFC? Or do self–other comparisons rather engage brain networks that are distinct from those supporting other kinds of comparisons? Future research should identify the different networks involved in self–other comparisons and analyze how they interact with each other.


Brain mechanisms of social comparison and their influence on the reward system.

Kedia G, Mussweiler T, Linden DE - Neuroreport (2014)

People tend to consider that they possess more desirable personalities than others. At the brain level, this above-average effect comes with a reduction in medial orbitofrontal cortex activity. Reprinted from Beer and Hughes 77 with permission from Elsevier. Adaptations are themselves works protected by copyright. So in order to publish this adaptation, authorization must be obtained both from the owner of the copyright in the original work and from the owner of copyright in the translation or adaptation.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4222713&req=5

Figure 5: People tend to consider that they possess more desirable personalities than others. At the brain level, this above-average effect comes with a reduction in medial orbitofrontal cortex activity. Reprinted from Beer and Hughes 77 with permission from Elsevier. Adaptations are themselves works protected by copyright. So in order to publish this adaptation, authorization must be obtained both from the owner of the copyright in the original work and from the owner of copyright in the translation or adaptation.
Mentions: In general, the involvement of the comparative frontoparietal network should be tested for a broader range of self–other comparisons: it is still unclear whether self–other comparisons involve a distance effect and whether this distance effect relies on the activity of the same frontoparietal network as other–other comparisons. When comparing themselves with others, people show biases that may influence comparative brain processes. For example, people have a tendency to overestimate their qualities and to consider themselves as better than average 76. At the brain level, this biased evaluation occurs with decreased activation of the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC; see Fig. 5 and Beer and Hughes 77). In this context, the mOFC may enable one to correct one’s initial biased evaluation and shift from one’s natural response tendency 78–80. So far, the question of whether (and how) self-related biases influence comparison processes has not received much attention. Do self–other comparisons rely on the same frontoparietal network as other–other and nonsocial comparisons? If so, is this network modulated by self-related brain regions, such as the mOFC? Or do self–other comparisons rather engage brain networks that are distinct from those supporting other kinds of comparisons? Future research should identify the different networks involved in self–other comparisons and analyze how they interact with each other.

Bottom Line: We discuss recent findings on the consequences of social comparison on the brain processing of outcomes and highlight the role of the brain's reward system.Moreover, we analyze the relationship between the brain networks involved in social comparisons and those active during other forms of cognitive and perceptual comparison.Finally, we discuss potential future questions that research on the neural correlates of social comparison could address.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: aDepartment of Psychology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany bSchool of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK cDepartment of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Whenever we interact with others, we judge them and whenever we make such judgments, we compare them with ourselves, other people, or internalized standards. Countless social psychological experiments have shown that comparative thinking plays a ubiquitous role in person perception and social cognition as a whole. The topic of social comparison has recently aroused the interest of social neuroscientists, who have begun to investigate its neural underpinnings. The present article provides an overview of these neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies. We discuss recent findings on the consequences of social comparison on the brain processing of outcomes and highlight the role of the brain's reward system. Moreover, we analyze the relationship between the brain networks involved in social comparisons and those active during other forms of cognitive and perceptual comparison. Finally, we discuss potential future questions that research on the neural correlates of social comparison could address.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus