Article

Repetition suppression of ventromedial prefrontal activity during judgments of self and others.

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 04/2008; 105(11):4507-12. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708785105
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT One useful strategy for inferring others' mental states (i.e., mentalizing) may be to use one's own thoughts, feelings, and desires as a proxy for those of other people. Such self-referential accounts of social cognition are supported by recent neuroimaging observations that a single brain region, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC), is engaged both by tasks that require introspections about self and by tasks that require inferences about the minds of others perceived to be similar to self. To test whether people automatically refer to their own mental states when considering those of a similar other, we examined repetition-related suppression of vMPFC response during self-reflections that followed either an initial reflection about self or a judgment of another person. Consistent with the hypothesis that perceivers spontaneously engage in self-referential processing when mentalizing about particular individuals, vMPFC response was suppressed when self-reflections followed either an initial reflection about self or a judgment of a similar, but not a dissimilar, other. These results suggest that thinking about the mind of another person may rely importantly on reference to one's own mental characteristics.

0 Followers
 · 
85 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are thought to lack self-awareness and to experience difficulty empathising with others. Although these deficits have been demonstrated in previous studies, most of the target stimuli were constructed for typically developing (TD) individuals. We employed judgment tasks capable of indexing self-relevant processing in individuals with and without ASD. Fourteen Japanese males and one Japanese female with high-functioning ASD (17-41 years of age) and 13 Japanese males and two TD Japanese females ( 22-40 years of age), all of whom were matched for age and full and verbal intelligence quotient scores with the ASD participants, were enrolled in this study. The results demonstrated that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex was significantly activated in individuals with ASD in response to autistic characters and in TD individuals in response to non-autistic characters. Whereas the frontal-posterior network between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and superior temporal gyrus participated in the processing of non-autistic characters in TD individuals, an alternative network was involved when individuals with ASD processed autistic characters. This suggests an atypical form of empathy in individuals with ASD toward others with ASD.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 10/2014; 10(2). DOI:10.1093/scan/nsu126 · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are generally thought to lack empathy. However, according to recent empirical and self-advocacy studies, individuals with ASD identify with others with ASD. Based on mutual understanding, individuals with ASD respond empathically to others with these disorders. Results have shown that typically developing (TD) adults identify with TD fictional characters, and that such identification plays a critical role in social cognition. TD individuals retrieve episodes involving TD individuals faster than they retrieve episodes involving ASD individuals. Individuals with ASD also show a "similarity effect" whereby they retrieve stories involving ASD individuals more effectively when the stories have consistent outcomes than when they have inconsistent outcomes. In this context, I hypothesized that similarities between a perceiver and a target facilitate cognitive processing. This hypothesis was named the "similarity hypothesis". Perceivers empathize with targets similar to themselves, which facilitates subsequent cognitive processing. Behavioral and neuroimaging studies are reviewed based on the similarity hypothesis.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2015; 9:124. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00124 · 2.90 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Learning induces plasticity in neuronal networks. As neuronal populations contribute to multiple representations, we reasoned plasticity in one representation might influence others. We used human fMRI repetition suppression to show that plasticity induced by learning another individual's values impacts upon a value representation for oneself in medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a plasticity also evident behaviorally in a preference shift. We show this plasticity is driven by a striatal "prediction error," signaling the discrepancy between the other's choice and a subject's own preferences. Thus, our data highlight that mPFC encodes agent-independent representations of subjective value, such that prediction errors simultaneously update multiple agents' value representations. As the resulting change in representational similarity predicts interindividual differences in the malleability of subjective preferences, our findings shed mechanistic light on complex human processes such as the powerful influence of social interaction on beliefs and preferences. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Neuron 01/2015; 85(2):418-28. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.033 · 15.98 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
8 Downloads
Available from
Aug 26, 2014