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The Motivational Hierarchy between the Personal Self and Close Others in the Chinese Brain: an ERP Study

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

People base their decisions not only on their own self-interest but also on the interests of close others. Generally, the personal self has primacy in the motivational hierarchy in the Western culture. A recent study found that friends have the same motivational hierarchy as the personal self in the Eastern collectivist culture. Remaining unknown is whether the motivational hierarchy of the personal self and close others can be manifested in the collectivist brain. In the present study, we asked participants to gamble for the personal self, close others (i.e., mother, father, and close friend), and strangers. The positive-going deflection of event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to positive feedback showed the following pattern: personal self = mother = father > friend > stranger. In the loss condition, no significant beneficiary effect was observed. The present results indicate that the personal self and parents are intertwined in the motivational system in the Chinese undergraduate student brain, supporting the view that the personal self and parents have the same motivational primacy at the electrocortical level.

No MeSH data available.


The sequence of events within a single trial in the monetary gambling task. In each trial, the beneficiary cue lasted for 3000 ms. The fixation point lasted for 1200 ms. The participant was then presented with a choice of two alternatives, and the participant responded using the left or right index finger. The alternatives remained until the participant made his/her choice. Afterward, his/her choice was highlighted for 500 ms. After a subsequent interval of 800–1200 ms, the participant received feedback, lasting 1000 ms, which indicated whether he/she gained or lost in that trial. RT, response time.
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Figure 1: The sequence of events within a single trial in the monetary gambling task. In each trial, the beneficiary cue lasted for 3000 ms. The fixation point lasted for 1200 ms. The participant was then presented with a choice of two alternatives, and the participant responded using the left or right index finger. The alternatives remained until the participant made his/her choice. Afterward, his/her choice was highlighted for 500 ms. After a subsequent interval of 800–1200 ms, the participant received feedback, lasting 1000 ms, which indicated whether he/she gained or lost in that trial. RT, response time.

Mentions: The participants underwent a simple gambling task (Figure 1). The gambling task was the same as in our previous study, with the exception that the numbers were changed (Zhu et al., 2015a) The stimulus display and behavioral data acquisition were performed using E-Prime 1.1 software (Psychology Software Tools). During the task, the participants sat comfortably in an electrically shielded room approximately 80 cm from a computer screen. Each trial began with 3000 ms presentation of the person for whom the participant was playing (i.e., “for yourself,” “for your mother,” “for your father,” “for your friend” and “for a stranger”). The participant was told that the strangers were selected from our subject pool. Two white rectangles (2.5°× 2.5° of visual angle) were then presented that contained two Arabic numerals (1 and 6, 2 and 7, 3 and 8, and 4 and 9) to indicate two alternative options on the left and right sides of a fixation point on the computer screen. The positions of the two numbers were counterbalanced across trials. The participants were asked to make a selection by pressing the “F” or “J” key on the keyboard with the left or right index finger, respectively. The alternatives remained on the screen until the participant chose one of the rectangles, which was then highlighted by a thick red outline for 500 ms. After a subsequent interval of 800–1200 ms, the participants received feedback, that lasted 1000 ms, and indicated whether he/she gained (when the valence of the outcome was “+”) or lost (when the valence of the outcome was “-”) in that particular trial (Figure 1). The formal task consisted of eight blocks of 80 trials each. Unbeknownst to the participants, the outcomes were provided according to a predetermined pseudorandom sequence, and each participant received exactly 64 of each kind of outcome for each beneficiary. Each participant was paid 15 CNY (~USD$2.3) for their participation in the study. In the gambling task, each beneficiary had 15 CNY in his/her account. Based on the points that were gained for each beneficiary, the final gain or loss was added to the separate account (every additional 500 points gained increased the payment by 5 CNY). Finally, the money was put on the close others’ or strangers’ cell phone. The total payment for each participant was approximately 75.6 CNY (range, 60–100 CNY; SD = 8.4 CNY).


The Motivational Hierarchy between the Personal Self and Close Others in the Chinese Brain: an ERP Study
The sequence of events within a single trial in the monetary gambling task. In each trial, the beneficiary cue lasted for 3000 ms. The fixation point lasted for 1200 ms. The participant was then presented with a choice of two alternatives, and the participant responded using the left or right index finger. The alternatives remained until the participant made his/her choice. Afterward, his/her choice was highlighted for 500 ms. After a subsequent interval of 800–1200 ms, the participant received feedback, lasting 1000 ms, which indicated whether he/she gained or lost in that trial. RT, response time.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037196&req=5

Figure 1: The sequence of events within a single trial in the monetary gambling task. In each trial, the beneficiary cue lasted for 3000 ms. The fixation point lasted for 1200 ms. The participant was then presented with a choice of two alternatives, and the participant responded using the left or right index finger. The alternatives remained until the participant made his/her choice. Afterward, his/her choice was highlighted for 500 ms. After a subsequent interval of 800–1200 ms, the participant received feedback, lasting 1000 ms, which indicated whether he/she gained or lost in that trial. RT, response time.
Mentions: The participants underwent a simple gambling task (Figure 1). The gambling task was the same as in our previous study, with the exception that the numbers were changed (Zhu et al., 2015a) The stimulus display and behavioral data acquisition were performed using E-Prime 1.1 software (Psychology Software Tools). During the task, the participants sat comfortably in an electrically shielded room approximately 80 cm from a computer screen. Each trial began with 3000 ms presentation of the person for whom the participant was playing (i.e., “for yourself,” “for your mother,” “for your father,” “for your friend” and “for a stranger”). The participant was told that the strangers were selected from our subject pool. Two white rectangles (2.5°× 2.5° of visual angle) were then presented that contained two Arabic numerals (1 and 6, 2 and 7, 3 and 8, and 4 and 9) to indicate two alternative options on the left and right sides of a fixation point on the computer screen. The positions of the two numbers were counterbalanced across trials. The participants were asked to make a selection by pressing the “F” or “J” key on the keyboard with the left or right index finger, respectively. The alternatives remained on the screen until the participant chose one of the rectangles, which was then highlighted by a thick red outline for 500 ms. After a subsequent interval of 800–1200 ms, the participants received feedback, that lasted 1000 ms, and indicated whether he/she gained (when the valence of the outcome was “+”) or lost (when the valence of the outcome was “-”) in that particular trial (Figure 1). The formal task consisted of eight blocks of 80 trials each. Unbeknownst to the participants, the outcomes were provided according to a predetermined pseudorandom sequence, and each participant received exactly 64 of each kind of outcome for each beneficiary. Each participant was paid 15 CNY (~USD$2.3) for their participation in the study. In the gambling task, each beneficiary had 15 CNY in his/her account. Based on the points that were gained for each beneficiary, the final gain or loss was added to the separate account (every additional 500 points gained increased the payment by 5 CNY). Finally, the money was put on the close others’ or strangers’ cell phone. The total payment for each participant was approximately 75.6 CNY (range, 60–100 CNY; SD = 8.4 CNY).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

People base their decisions not only on their own self-interest but also on the interests of close others. Generally, the personal self has primacy in the motivational hierarchy in the Western culture. A recent study found that friends have the same motivational hierarchy as the personal self in the Eastern collectivist culture. Remaining unknown is whether the motivational hierarchy of the personal self and close others can be manifested in the collectivist brain. In the present study, we asked participants to gamble for the personal self, close others (i.e., mother, father, and close friend), and strangers. The positive-going deflection of event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to positive feedback showed the following pattern: personal self = mother = father > friend > stranger. In the loss condition, no significant beneficiary effect was observed. The present results indicate that the personal self and parents are intertwined in the motivational system in the Chinese undergraduate student brain, supporting the view that the personal self and parents have the same motivational primacy at the electrocortical level.

No MeSH data available.