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Neural signatures of social conformity: A coordinate-based activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of functional brain imaging studies

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... Babies cry when other babies are crying, children drop their toy dinosaurs and join in the LEGO set that other children are constructing, adolescents keep their dress and hairstyle in line with what is popular among peers, and adults go to the restaurant with the longest line. All of these are examples of social conformity, which refers to adjusting one's behaviors or attitudes to group opinions [1,2]. ...
... However, in the presence of others, about one-third of participants gave up their correct judgments and followed the wrong, unanimous judgments of their peers [4,5]. These initial experiments have provided a framework and paradigm by which to examine human social conformity in the laboratory, and following-up studies have identified conformity behavior in a variety of domains [2,[6][7][8]. For example, conformity behaviors have often been examined in a paradigm in which participants are exposed to many others' opinions that are congruent or incongruent with one's own (Fig. 1C). ...
... Indeed, the past decades have seen intense interest in identifying and delineating the neural substrates of social conformity [10][11][12][32][33][34][35][36]. These neuroimaging studies have shown that social conformity is not a single, unitary construct, but instead engages multiple neurocognitive processes, including brain networks important in reward or punishment processing, mentalizing, and cognitive control [2,6,7,11]. Specifically, brain regions implicated in conflict and punishment processing, including the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and anterior insula (AI), are recruited by the discrepancy between oneself and the group [37,38]. ...
Article
From birth to adulthood, we often align our behaviors, attitudes, and opinions with a majority, a phenomenon known as social conformity. A seminal framework has proposed that conformity behaviors are mainly driven by three fundamental motives: a desire to gain more information to be accurate, to obtain social approval from others, and to maintain a favorable self-concept. Despite extensive interest in neuroimaging investigation of social conformity, the relationship between brain systems and these fundamental motivations has yet to be established. Here, we reviewed brain imaging findings of social conformity with a componential framework, aiming to reveal the neuropsychological substrates underlying different conformity motivations. First, information-seeking engages the evaluation of social information, information integration, and modification of task-related activity, corresponding to brain networks implicated in reward, cognitive control, and tasks at hand. Second, social acceptance involves the anticipation of social acceptance or rejection and mental state attribution, mediated by networks of reward, punishment, and mentalizing. Third, self-enhancement entails the excessive representation of positive self-related information and suppression of negative self-related information, ingroup favoritism and/or outgroup derogation, and elaborated mentalizing processes to the ingroup, supported by brain systems of reward, punishment, and mentalizing. Therefore, recent brain imaging studies have provided important insights into the fundamental motivations of social conformity in terms of component processes and brain mechanisms.
... Previous neurological studies have shown that the social influence of attitudes is associated with the activities of multiple brain regions, of which the mPFC, posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC), ventral striatum, and insula are the most important brain regions involved (Wu et al., 2016). When external social information comes from the majority opinion, the mPFC is found to be related to the identification of socially labelled activities during the social influence process (Mason et al., 2009) and the tendency to follow the majority (Izuma and Adolphs, 2013). ...
... The ventral striatum is related to the conflict between majority opinion and private opinion (Klucharev et al., 2009). The insula and pMFC are related to people's conforming behavioural adjustments after being informed of social information (Berns et al., 2010;Wu et al., 2016). Klucharev et al. (2011) used the transcranial magnetic stimulation method to find that the downregulation of pMFC prevented social conformity. ...
... Thus, we suggest that the mPFC moderates subjects' tendency to seek consistency, which in turn leads to a change in the tendency to follow the crowd. Previous studies on social conformity found that this behaviour involves both deep brain regions (such as the ventral striatum and insula) and surface brain regions (such as the mPFC) (Wu et al., 2016). Previous cognitive neuroscience research has shown that there is top-down control of the prefrontal cortex to the internal areas involved in reward and emotion in the brain (Banks et al., 2008;Batterink et al., 2010;Somerville et al., 2009;Volkow et al., 2009;Volkow et al., 2008). ...
Article
Individual attitudes and preferences are easily affected by social information. In a world where information sharing and dissemination are extremely convenient, social influence has played a greater role than in any previous era. Previous studies have suggested that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) participates in mediating the tendency towards social conformity. However, the specific role of this brain area is still unknown, and it is not clear whether various types of external information influences share a mechanism. In this research, we aimed to use transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to further explore the role of the mPFC in human conformity behaviour. In our experiment, the subjects received the majority opinion/expert opinion, and conformity behaviour was measured by the subject’s tendency to follow this information after receiving the social information. Our research found that when social information conveys the majority opinion, cathodal stimulation of the mPFC significantly enhances the subject’s consistency tendency. When social information conveys an expert opinion, stimulation of the mPFC has no significant effect on the conformity tendency of subjects. The results suggest that the mPFC plays an inhibitory role in regulating the social conformity tendency and that the activated neural circuits may vary with source when dealing with social influences.
... These findings raised whether a common or a specific activation pattern exists between DT and insight. But, in retrospect to previous meta-analyses (i.e., Boccia et al., 2015;Cogdell-Brooke et al., 2020;Shen et al., 2018;Shen, Yuan, Liu, Zhang, et al., 2016;Wu et al., 2016), they have little access to peculiar brain activation underlying DT or insight since they tended to integrate onefold fMRI studies within only one creative subset. These existing explorations cannot tell the common and specific cognitive systems mainly resided in DT or insight, restricted by a single analysis method. ...
... Standard ALE analysis models use the coordinate of centered activation focus as probability distributions rather than a single point with Gaussian probability density distributions (Wu et al., 2016). ...
... Toward this end, we have conducted two single analyses, two contrast analyses, and a T A B L E 2 Brain activations of single dataset analysis in divergent thinking (DT) and insight Note: These two single data analyses were corrected by family-wise error at the cluster level, respectively, whose threshold was p < .05 with 3000 times permutation and cluster forming threshold was p < .001. Volume refers to the size of the cluster (mm 3 Compared to the previous meta-analyses in DT or insight (i.e., Boccia et al., 2015;Cogdell-Brooke et al., 2020;Shen et al., 2018;Shen, Yuan, Liu, Zhang, et al., 2016;Wu et al., 2016), which is prone to focus on only one type of creative subset alone and cannot provide the common and specific neural evidence underlying DT and insight. ...
Article
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The dual-process theory that two different systems of thought coexist in creative thinking has attracted considerable attention. In the field of creative thinking, divergent thinking (DT) is the ability to produce multiple solutions to open-ended problems in a short time. It is mainly considered an associative and fast process. Meanwhile, insight, the new and unexpected comprehension of close-ended problems, is frequently marked as a deliberate and time-consuming thinking process requiring concentrated effort. Previous research has been dedicated to revealing their separate neural mechanisms, while few studies have compared their differences and similarities at the brain level. Therefore, the current study applied Activation Likelihood Estimation to decipher common and distinctive neural pathways that potentially underlie DT and insight. We selected 27 DT studies and 30 insight studies for retrospective meta-analyses. Initially, two single analyses with follow-up contrast and conjunction analyses were performed. The single analyses showed that DT mainly involved the inferior parietal lobe (IPL), cuneus, and middle frontal gyrus (MFG), while the precentral gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), parahippocampal gyrus (PG), amygdala (AMG), and superior parietal lobe were engaged in insight. Compared to insight, DT mainly led to greater activation in the IPL, the crucial part of the default mode network. However, insight caused more significant activation in regions related to executive control functions and emotional responses, such as the IFG, MFG, PG, and AMG. Notably, the conjunction analysis detected no overlapped areas between DT and insight. These neural findings implicate that various neurocognitive circuits may support DT and insight.
... Recent findings in the field of social neuroscience reveal that processes of adaptation implicate frontal brain regions and neural brain networks related to the computation of value (Campbell-Meiklejohn et al., 2010;Falk & Scholz, 2018;Klucharev et al., 2009;Mason et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2016). Processes of social adaptation and social learning enabled the forming of our self-representation and metacognitive abilities which in turn improved the integration of information that promoted adaptation and the plasticity of the brain (Collins, 2001). ...
... Several studies pinpoint the mPFC and the ventral striatum (VS) as key regions for value-based decision-making and behavior change Cooper et al., 2017;Mason et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2016;Zaki et al., 2011). Specifically, activation of medial frontal areas and deactivation of the VS during exposure to group norms have been linked to behavior change (Klucharev et al., 2009;Schilbach et al., 2013;Wu et al., 2016). ...
... Several studies pinpoint the mPFC and the ventral striatum (VS) as key regions for value-based decision-making and behavior change Cooper et al., 2017;Mason et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2016;Zaki et al., 2011). Specifically, activation of medial frontal areas and deactivation of the VS during exposure to group norms have been linked to behavior change (Klucharev et al., 2009;Schilbach et al., 2013;Wu et al., 2016). Furthermore, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) has been shown to regulate conformity behavior linked to value estimation (Clithero & Rangel, 2014). ...
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Humans are inherently social beings. Being suggestible to each other’s expectations enables pro‐social skills that are crucial for social learning and adaptation. Despite its high relevance for psychiatry, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying social adaptation are still not well understood. This review therefore provides a conceptual framework covering various distinct mechanisms underlying social adaptation and explores the neuropharmacology – in particular the role of the serotonin (5‐HT) system – modulating these mechanisms. This article therefore reviews empirical results on social influence processing and reconciles them with recent findings from psychedelic research on social processing to elucidate neurobiological and neuropharmacological underpinnings of social adaptation. Various computational, neurobiological, and neurochemical processes are involved in distinct mechanisms underlying social adaptation such as the multisensory process of social information integration that is crucial for the forming of self‐representation and representations of social norms. This is again associated with self‐ and other‐perception during social interactions as well as value‐based decision making that guides our behaviour in daily interactions. We highlight the critical role of 5‐HT in these processes and suggest that 5‐HT can facilitate social learning and may represent an important target for treating psychiatric disorders characterized by impairments in social functioning. This framework also has important implications for psychedelic‐assisted therapy as well as for the development of novel treatment approaches and future research directions.
... People have been shown to solve this problem by computing the probability that the initial decision was correct given all the evidence, and markers of neural activity obtained with fMRI have revealed that this confidence computation is supported by dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) [1]. Interestingly, dACC also appears to play a central role in changes of mind in social situations [8]. For example, an initial set of fMRI studies focused on situations where people changed their subjective preferences (e.g., facial attractiveness ratings) after observing those of others [9][10][11]. ...
... Having established behaviourally that our experimental task dissociated the influence of informational and normative factors on social change of mind, we next turned to the fMRI data to identify neural substrates that may support the integration of these factors into a social change of mind. We focused our analyses on dACC as this area has consistently been linked to changes of mind in social [8] and nonsocial situations [1]. Our key question was whether dACC tracks both informational and normative factors, or only one of these factors, during social changes of mind. ...
... Because of the functional heterogeneity of the dACC [20][21][22], we chose a subregion of this area that was previously implicated in the change of mind [1]. To indicate that our results are not dependent on our specific ROI selection, we chose 3 more ROIs published in the literature [8,12] and found that all different ROIs lead to the same conclusion (see S4 Text). ...
Article
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A change of mind in response to social influence could be driven by informational conformity to increase accuracy, or by normative conformity to comply with social norms such as reciprocity. Disentangling the behavioural, cognitive, and neurobiological underpinnings of informational and normative conformity have proven elusive. Here, participants underwent fMRI while performing a perceptual task that involved both advice-taking and advice-giving to human and computer partners. The concurrent inclusion of 2 different social roles and 2 different social partners revealed distinct behavioural and neural markers for informational and normative conformity. Dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) BOLD response tracked informational conformity towards both human and computer but tracked normative conformity only when interacting with humans. A network of brain areas (dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and temporoparietal junction (TPJ)) that tracked normative conformity increased their functional coupling with the dACC when interacting with humans. These findings enable differentiating the neural mechanisms by which different types of conformity shape social changes of mind.
... The past two decades have witnessed a surge of interest in determining the neural systems mediating social interactions combining research traditions rooted in psychology, neuroscience, economics, and evolutionary biology (Adolphs, 2010a;Barrett and Satpute, 2013;Cacioppo et al., 2002;Lee, 2008;Lieberman, 2007;Ochsner and Lieberman, 2001;Walter et al., 2005). Combining human brain imaging techniques with social interaction paradigms, recent studies have enriched our knowledge about the neuropsychological mechanisms underlying a wide range of social interactions (Adolphs, 2001;Fiske and Taylor, 2013;Gallese et al., 2004;Saxe, 2006), such as fairness (Feng et al., 2015;Sanfey et al., 2003), cooperation (Rilling et al., 2008(Rilling et al., , 2002, trust (King-Casas et al., 2005;Krueger et al., 2007), altruism Izuma et al., 2010), social comparison (Fliessbach et al., 2007;Luo et al., 2018;Takahashi et al., 2009), competition (Beyer et al., 2015), social exclusion (Eisenberger et al., 2003), social understanding (Morelli et al., 2014), social evaluation (Cooper et al., 2014;Izuma et al., 2008), and social conformity (Izuma and Adolphs, 2013;Klucharev et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2016). ...
... Nevertheless, these frameworks are mainly based on narrative reviews of functional activation findings, with few empirical studies quantitatively synthesizing brain regions consistently involved in various social interactions and characterizing their specific roles for social interaction in terms of network integration. Recent meta-analyses have examined neural substrates associated with specific types of social interactions including social rejection (Cacioppo et al., 2013;Rotge et al., 2015), social comparison , fairness (Feng et al., 2015;Gabay et al., 2014), trust (Bellucci et al., 2017), social conformity (Wu et al., 2016), social norm (Yang et al., 2019;Zinchenko and Arsalidou, 2018), deception (Lisofsky et al., 2014). These topic-specific meta-analyses provide important insights into the regions supporting specific types of social interactions, but to uncover the overarching properties of the brain systems supporting diverse social behaviors we have to go further to take into account a wider range of heterogeneous social interactions. ...
... Notably, the SN and SCN register social reward/punishment independent of financial payouts, such that mutual cooperation, altruistic giving, and costly punishment consistently involve the engagement of VS node in the SCN, even though those normative behaviors often result in a financial loss for oneself (De Quervain et al., 2004;Spitzer et al., 2007). In contrast, norm violation induces negative feelings and triggers error-like signals in the dACC and AI nodes of SN, which drive people to change their behaviors or internal states in line with social norms Montague and Lohrenz, 2007;Wu et al., 2016). That is, human social behaviors are not only driven by self-interest but also social norms that are often at odds with maximizing personal payoff. ...
Article
Recent overarching frameworks propose that various human social interactions are commonly supported by a set of fundamental neuropsychological processes, including social cognition, motivation, and cognitive control. However, it remains unclear whether brain networks implicated in these functional constructs are consistently engaged in diverse social interactions. Based on ample evidence from human brain imaging studies (342 contrasts, 7,234 participants, 3,328 foci), we quantitatively synthesized brain areas involved in broad domains of social interactions, including social interactions versus non-social contexts, positive/negative aspects of social interactions, social learning, and social norms. We then conducted brain network analysis on the ensuing brain regions and characterized the psychological function profiles of identified brain networks. Our findings revealed that brain regions consistently involved in diverse social interactions mapped onto default mode network, salience network, subcortical network and central executive network, which were respectively implicated in social cognition, motivation and cognitive control. These findings implicate a heuristic integrative framework to understand human social life from the perspective of component process and network integration.
... This topic has been investigated to some degree, but not in the context of behavioral change. In large part, conformity research has targeted error-processing (Wu et al., 2016). For example, typical studies have involved subjects performing a gambling task, where they attempt to maximize their rewards, and a separate social conformity task, using opinion-based ratings (Klucharev et al., 2009;Levorsen et al., 2021). ...
... This focus on behavioral change notably contrasts prior decision-making research investigating the links between direct learning, observational learning, and conformity. This earlier work predominantly focused on similarity with regard to error processing, updating decision values, and learning the task structure (Bellebaum et al., 2010;Burke et al., 2010;Klucharev et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2016). By focusing instead on centroparietal positivity and behavioral change, our results add to the depth of this close similarity. ...
... Our findings on the mechanisms of conformity promoting behavioral change extend earlier ERP literature on conformity, which used opinion-based tasks and similarly reported P3b and LP effects (Pierguidi et al., 2019;Wang et al., 2020;Yuan et al., 2019). Beyond the ERP literature, most fMRI studies on conformity have focused on error processing-for example, the effects of one's choice being different from the group-or to a lesser extent, on the neural correlates predicting opinion changes (reviewed by Wu et al., 2016). To the best of our knowledge, just one prior fMRI study examined behavioral conformity, and it notably found that when subjects processed others' behaviors, increased temporoparietal junction (TPJ) activity predicted conformity (Wei et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Our behavior is shaped by multiple factors, including direct feedback (seeing the outcomes of our past actions) and social observations (influenced, in part, via a drive to conform to other peoples’ behaviors). However, it remains unclear how these two processes are linked, particularly in the context of behavioral change. Notably, behavioral change is associated with distinct neural correlates that reflect specific aspects of processing, such as information integration and rule updating. To clarify whether these processes characterize both direct learning and conformity we elicited the two within the same task, using a role-swapping version of the Ultimatum Game – a fairness paradigm where subjects decide how to share a pot of money with other players – while electroencephalography (EEG) data were recorded. Behavioral results showed that subjects decided how to divide the pot based on both direct feedback, seeing whether their past proposals were accepted or rejected, and social observation, copying the splits that others just proposed. Converging EEG evidence revealed that increased centroparietal positivity (P2, P3b, and late positivity) indexed both behavioral changes motivated by direct feedback and those motivated by drives to conform. However, exploratory analyses also suggest that these two motivating factors may be dissociable, and that frontal midline theta oscillations predict behavioral changes linked to direct feedback but not conformity. Overall, this study provides novel electrophysiological evidence regarding the different forms of behavioral change. These findings are relevant for understanding the mechanisms of social information processing that underly successful cooperation.
... Although most neuroscience studies of conformity do not focus on learning 215 , they do provide important clues about the possible mechanisms underlying 'copy the majority' SLS. For example, studies show that reward-sensitive areas (for example, the ventral striatum and the vmPFC) that are important in learning, signal the individuals' conformity to the majority 216 . In a popular task, participants rate stimuli, such as faces, first alone and then again after seeing the average rating from an anonymous group of people 216,217 . ...
... For example, studies show that reward-sensitive areas (for example, the ventral striatum and the vmPFC) that are important in learning, signal the individuals' conformity to the majority 216 . In a popular task, participants rate stimuli, such as faces, first alone and then again after seeing the average rating from an anonymous group of people 216,217 . Using this task, it has been shown that initial agreement between the participant and the majority group was related to ventral striatum activity 218 , whereas disagreement with the majority resulted in deactivation of the ventral striatum. ...
Article
Learning the value of stimuli and actions from others — social learning — adaptively contributes to individual survival and plays a key role in cultural evolution. We review research across species targeting the neural and computational systems of social learning in both the aversive and appetitive domains. Social learning generally follows the same principles as self-experienced value-based learning, including computations of prediction errors and is implemented in brain circuits activated across task domains together with regions processing social information. We integrate neural and computational perspectives of social learning with an understanding of behaviour of varying complexity, from basic threat avoidance to complex social learning strategies and cultural phenomena. Learning the value of stimuli and actions from others — social learning — is crucial for survival. In this review, Olsson, Knapska and Lindström discuss the neural and computational systems underlying social and self-experienced learning, and integrate this knowledge with behavioural phenomena of varying complexity.
... https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.11.988220 doi: bioRxiv preprint mechanism is still insufficient. For example, although meta-analyses on social conformity [7] and reinforcement learning [10] suggest that similar brain regions are involved in these two processes, spatial information is limited in meta-analyses (e.g., see [17]). Therefore, the aim of this study was to rigorously test the reinforcement learning hypothesis of social conformity by asking the same sample of participants to perform social conformity and reinforcement learning tasks inside an fMRI scanner. ...
... It is made available under a The copyright holder for this preprint (which was not peer-reviewed) is the . https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.11.988220 doi: bioRxiv preprint was reported that these ROIs were consistently positively associated with social conflict (pMFC and insula) and consistently negatively associated with social conflict (striatum) [7]. These ROIs were also consistently associated with signed/unsigned prediction errors [10]. ...
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Our preferences are influenced by the opinions of others. The past human neuroimaging studies on social conformity have identified a network of brain regions related to social conformity that includes the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC), anterior insula, and striatum. It was hypothesized that since these brain regions are also known to play important roles in reinforcement learning (i.e., processing prediction error), social conformity and reinforcement learning have a common neural mechanism. However, these two processes have previously never been directly compared; therefore, the extent to which they shared a common neural mechanism had remained unclear. This study aimed to formally test the hypothesis. The same group of participants (n = 25) performed social conformity and reinforcement learning tasks inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Univariate fMRI data analyses revealed activation overlaps in the pMFC and bilateral insula between social conflict and unsigned prediction error and in the striatum between social conflict and signed prediction error. We further conducted multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) for more direct evidence of a shared neural mechanism. MVPA did not reveal any evidence to support the hypothesis in any of these regions but found that activation patterns between social conflict and prediction error in these regions were largely distinct. Taken together, the present study provides no clear evidence of a common neural mechanism between social conformity and reinforcement learning.
... Similarly, altruistic punishment has been associated with activity in the anterior, midcingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, as well as in the anterior insula and adjacent inferior frontal gyrus (aI/IFG; Feng, Luo, & Krueger, 2015;Gabay, Radua, Kempton, & Mehta, 2014). These two punishment modalities enable a dynamic anger state in which reflexive-intuitive and reflective-deliberate systems interact (Wu, Luo, & Feng, 2016) under heterogeneous inhibitory abilities and highly unpredictable scenarios. ...
... Although these findings epitomize the functional links between response inhibition and state anger, we are lacking a quantitative overview of the neural networks supporting response inhibition, state anger, and their neural overlap. While former meta-analyses have examined either the neural correlates of response inhibition (Criaud & Boulinguez, 2013;Rae et al., 2014;Swick et al., 2011;Wu et al., 2016), emotion regulation (Cromheeke & Mueller, 2014;Langner, Leiberg, Hoffstaedter, & Eickhoff, 2018;Ochsner, Hughes, Robertson, Cooper, & Gabrieli, 2009), or different executive functions separately Worringer et al., 2019), here we selectively focused on quantitatively describing the neural link between state anger and basic response inhibition. Despite a general agreement on the shift from diffuse to more focal response inhibition activity throughout development, comparatively less attention has been paid, however, to disentangling the neural mechanisms of youth versus adult response inhibition. ...
Article
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Although anger may weaken response inhibition (RI) by allowing outbursts to bypass deliberate processing, it is equally likely that RI deficits precipitate a state of anger (SA). In adolescents, for instance, anger occurs more frequently and often leads to escalating aggressive behaviors. Even though RI is considered a key component in explaining individual differences in SA expression, the neural overlap between SA and RI remains elusive. Here, we aimed to meta-analytically revisit and update the neural correlates of motor RI, to determine a consistent neural architecture of SA, and to identify their joint neural network. Considering that inhibitory abilities follow a protracted maturation until early adulthood, we additionally computed RI meta-analyses in youths and adults. Using activation likelihood estimation, we calculated twelve meta-analyses across 157 RI and 39 SA experiments on healthy individuals. Consistent with previous findings, RI was associated with a broad frontoparietal network including the anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus (aI/IFG), premotor and midcingulate cortices, extending into right temporoparietal areas. Youths showed convergent activity in right midcingulate and medial prefrontal areas, left aI/ IFG, and the temporal poles. SA, on the other hand, reliably recruited the right aI/IFG and anterior cingulate cortex. Conjunction analyses between RI and SA yielded a single convergence cluster in the right aI/IFG. While frontoparietal networks and bilateral aI are ubiquitously recruited during RI, the right aI/IFG cluster likely represents a node in a dynamically-adjusting monitoring network that integrates salient information thereby facilitating the execution of goal-directed behaviors under highly unpredictable scenarios.
... A given risk preference is generally considered to be a subjective preference, which should be relatively stable within an individual. However, human behavior, whether risky or not, does not exist in isolation; people tend to adjust their beliefs or decisions through social influence, according to others' opinions, choices, and attitudes in social life (i.e., social conformity) (21)(22)(23)(24). Recent research has also shed light on the contagion effect, elucidating behavioral, and neural patterns in modulating risk-seeking/averse behavior (25). ...
... The positive OCU value among control participants replicates participants' choices under social influence by demonstrating that individual decisions change in the direction of others' choices (26), suggesting that control participants follow information on others' choices when making decisions. This confirms the explanation of how others' safe or risky decisions affects one's own decision-making among control participants (24,25). Surprisingly, among substance users, we found that the OCU value was negative, meaning female methamphetamine abstainers are less sensitive to social influence and may even behave in a specifically nonconformist or counter-conforming manner under social influence. ...
Article
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Background: Many experimental studies and theoretical models have tried to explain the multifaceted formation of drug addiction. In most addiction models, social factors are an important component; however, few empirical studies have investigated the social influences on the safe or risky choices of drug-addicted individuals during the abstinence stage. Objectives: To investigate the behavioral patterns of female methamphetamine abstainers under social influence. Methods: Thirty-seven female methamphetamine abstainers (average abstinence time: 8.61 ± 4.75 months) and 40 matched controls performed a gambling task in the presence of peers’ choices. We applied both model-free and computational model-based analysis to examine how the decision patterns differed with social influence between the two groups. Results: 1) the choice data from the two groups showed a social influence effect such that participants made more risky choices when others made risky choices; 2) overall, the female methamphetamine abstainers made more risky choices in the social influence task; and 3) in the computational model parameters, the female methamphetamine abstainers exhibited more nonconforming attitudes (with negative other-conferred utility) with respect to peer influence, whereas controls showed higher conformity to peers. Conclusion: Our findings provide the first objective evidence that female methamphetamine abstainers show peer nonconformity. This nonconformist tendency may be a potential behavioral marker to track drug addiction and help to elucidate the mechanisms of decisions made by female methamphetamine abstainers.
... Using the similar experimental paradigm, several studies have replicated the original fMRI findings (e.g., Campbell-Meiklejohn, Bach, Roepstorff, Dolan, & Frith, 2010;Izuma & Adolphs, 2013;Korn et al., 2014;Korn, Prehn, Park, Walter, & Heekeren, 2012;Wake, Aoki, Nakahara, & Izuma, 2019), and a recent meta-analysis revealed that the insula and pMFC are consistently positively related to social conflict (i.e., the difference between individual and group opinions) and that the ventral striatum is negatively related to social conflict (Wu, Luo, & Feng, 2016). ...
... consistently negatively associated with social conflict (striatum) (Wu et al., 2016). These ROIs were also consistently associated with signed/unsigned prediction errors (Fouragnan et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Our preferences are influenced by the opinions of others. The past human neuroimaging studies on social conformity have identified a network of brain regions related to social conformity that includes the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC), anterior insula, and striatum. Since these brain regions are also known to play important roles in reinforcement learning (i.e., processing prediction error), it was previously hypothesized that social conformity and reinforcement learning have a common neural mechanism. However, although this view is currently widely accepted, these two processes have never been directly compared; therefore, the extent to which they shared a common neural mechanism had remained unclear. This study aimed to formally test the hypothesis. The same group of participants (n = 25) performed social conformity and reinforcement learning tasks inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Univariate fMRI data analyses revealed activation overlaps in the pMFC and bilateral insula between social conflict and unsigned prediction error and in the striatum between social conflict and signed prediction error. We further conducted multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) for more direct evidence of a shared neural mechanism. MVPA did not reveal any evidence to support the hypothesis in any of these regions but found that activation patterns between social conflict and prediction error in these regions were largely distinct. Taken together, the present study provides no clear evidence of a common neural mechanism between social conformity and reinforcement learning.
... In summary, studies of brain mechanisms underlying herding, or social conformity, support a reinforcement learning account of herding (Stallen and Sanfey, 2015;Wu et al., 2016). In this view, sharing a consensus with others may be experienced as a rewarding outcome (Wu et al., 2016). ...
... In summary, studies of brain mechanisms underlying herding, or social conformity, support a reinforcement learning account of herding (Stallen and Sanfey, 2015;Wu et al., 2016). In this view, sharing a consensus with others may be experienced as a rewarding outcome (Wu et al., 2016). ...
... One notable absence was the lack of evidence for the involvement of the basal ganglia during the receipt of social rewards. In contrast, previous meta-analytic evidence has shown that the ventral striatum is engaged during the receipt of monetary rewards in the MID task (Oldham et al., 2018b) or in response to agreement with normative opinions during social conformity (Wu et al., 2016). Even though the MID and the SID tasks are not classical learning tasks, the ventral striatal response to uncertain monetary rewards has been commonly interpreted in the reinforcement learning literature as the neural correlate of the dopaminergic neurons coding discrepancy between expected and actual outcomes (prediction error) (Lockwood et al., 2016;Lockwood et al., 2020a;Lockwood and Klein-Flugge, 2020;Nasser et al., 2017;Wittmann et al., 2018). ...
... This finding is in line with previous evidence that monetary loss, as compared to neutral feedback, results in a decrease in the BOLD signal in the striatum (in contrast to monetary gain, which results in an increase in the BOLD signal) (Delgado et al., 2000). Interestingly, one previous meta-analysis of the BOLD fMRI correlates of social conformity also found consistent decreases in the BOLD responses of the ventral striatum when people's responses deviate from group opinions (Wu et al., 2016). The integrated analysis of ours and these previous findings on social conformity suggests that BOLD decreases in the ventral striatum during disagreement with others might represent a punishment error signal to facilitate subsequent conforming behaviour. ...
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Social rewards or punishments motivate human learning and behaviour, and alterations in the brain circuits involved in the processing of these stimuli have been linked with several neuropsychiatric disorders. However, questions still remain about the exact neural substrates implicated in social reward and punishment processing. Here, we conducted four Anisotropic Effect Size Signed Differential Mapping voxel-based meta-analyses of fMRI studies investigating the neural correlates of the anticipation and receipt of social rewards and punishments using the Social Incentive Delay task. We found that the anticipation of both social rewards and social punishment avoidance recruits a wide network of areas including the basal ganglia, the midbrain, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, the supplementary motor area, the anterior insula, the occipital gyrus and other frontal, temporal, parietal and cerebellar regions not captured in previous coordinate-based meta-analysis. We identified decreases in the BOLD signal during the anticipation of both social reward and punishment avoidance in regions of the default-mode network that were missed in individual studies likely due to a lack of power. Receipt of social rewards engaged a robust network of brain regions including the ventromedial frontal and orbitofrontal cortices, the anterior cingulate cortex, the amygdala, the hippocampus, the occipital cortex and the brainstem, but not the basal ganglia. Receipt of social punishments increased the BOLD signal in the orbitofrontal cortex, superior and inferior frontal gyri, lateral occipital cortex and the insula. In contrast to the receipt of social rewards, we also observed a decrease in the BOLD signal in the basal ganglia in response to the receipt of social punishments. Our results provide a better understanding of the brain circuitry involved in the processing of social rewards and punishment. Furthermore, they can inform hypotheses regarding brain areas where disruption in activity may be associated with dysfunctional social incentive processing during disease
... The present research aims at testing the degree with which healthcare providers take 94 into account feedbacks about their pain assessment, and whether they weight in different 95 extent the opinion of the patient from that of other physicians. Across two-experiments, we 96 implemented a modified version of the social influence paradigm described above 97 (Klucharev et al., 2009;Wu et al., 2016). Here individuals appraised the pain of facial 98 expression video-clips, and subsequently were confronted with two feedbacks (see Figure 1): 99 the self-report of the person in pain (the Target of each video) and the average opinion of 20 medical practitioners (hereafter, MPs). ...
... inWu et al., 2016; provided 780 by the study's author). In both cases the meta-analytic activation maps (thresholded to781 survive FWE correction for the whole brain) were binarized and used for small volume 782 correction in our study. ...
Article
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Healthcare providers often underestimate patients’ pain, sometimes even when aware of their reports. This could be the effect of experience reducing sensitivity to others pain, or distrust towards patients’ self-evaluations. Across multiple experiments (375 participants), we tested whether senior medical students differed from younger colleagues and lay controls in the way they assess people’s pain and take into consideration their feedback. We found that medical training affected the sensitivity to pain faces, an effect shown by the lower ratings and highlighted by a decrease in neural response of the insula and cingulate cortex. Instead, distrust towards the expressions’ authenticity affected the processing of feedbacks, by decreasing activity in the ventral striatum whenever patients’ self-reports matched participants’ evaluations, and by promoting strong reliance on the opinion of other doctors. Overall, our study underscores the multiple processes which might influence the evaluation of others’ pain at the early stages of medical career.
... In addition, the AI has been frequently involved in detecting the salience of social stimuli or events (Feng et al., 2015;Luo et al., 2018). For instance, the activity of AI is induced by both positive and negative facial expressions (Chen et al., 2009), social interactions that are both better or worse than expectations (Feng et al., 2018;Xiang et al., 2013;Yu et al., 2014), or behaviors/opinions deviated from group norms (Wu et al., 2016). Considering the role of AI in both social and nonsocial context, it is plausible that this region may act as a universal mediator of motivational salience. ...
... Therefore, one may not generalize the current conclusion to other tasks involving complex decision-making. Indeed, by using more complicated task designs associated with social interaction, previous studies have detected the involvement of social brain regions, such as the dmPFC and TPJ (Carter et al., 2012;Feng et al., 2016). Second, it is noteworthy that adjacent or overlapping brain activation does not necessarily imply identical functions for all neurons within these regions (Haxby et al., 2001). ...
Article
Both social and material rewards play a crucial role in daily life and function as strong incentives for various goal-directed behaviors. However, it remains unclear whether the incentive effects of social and material reward are supported by common or distinct neural circuits. Here, we have addressed this issue by quantitatively synthesizing and comparing neural signatures underlying social (21 contrasts, 207 foci, 696 subjects) and monetary (94 contrasts, 1083 foci, 2060 subjects) reward anticipation. We demonstrated that social and monetary reward anticipation engaged a common neural circuit consisting of the ventral tegmental area, ventral striatum, anterior insula, and supplementary motor area, which are intensively connected during both task and resting states. Functional decoding findings indicate that this generic neural pathway mediates positive value, motivational relevance, and action preparation during reward anticipation, which together motivate individuals to prepare well for the response to the upcoming target. Our findings support the common neural currency hypothesis by providing the first meta-analytic evidence to quantitatively show the common involvement of brain regions in both social and material reward anticipation.
... For the main ROI analyses, we focused on two brain areas that are known to 1) express OXTR and 2) influence social conformity: pMFC and bilateral striatum (Wu et al., 2016). The MNI coordinates for our spherical ROIs were drawn from a recent coordinate-based J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis on the neural signature of social conformity (Wu et al., 2016). ...
... For the main ROI analyses, we focused on two brain areas that are known to 1) express OXTR and 2) influence social conformity: pMFC and bilateral striatum (Wu et al., 2016). The MNI coordinates for our spherical ROIs were drawn from a recent coordinate-based J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis on the neural signature of social conformity (Wu et al., 2016). The pMFC (BA8, x = 4, y = 32, z= 38) and bilateral NAcc ROIs (L: x = -6, y = 16, z = -4; R: x = 10, y = 16, z = -2) were defined by creating a binarized spherical mask of radius 10mm around their respective MNI coordinates. ...
Article
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The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) is known to promote social conformity. However, the specific neurocognitive mechanisms underlying OT-induced conformity remain unclear. We aimed to address this gap by examining how genetic variation in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is linked with behavioral conformity and its underlying neural systems. Specifically, we utilized the genotype-tissue expression database (GTEx) to create a novel multi-locus genetic profile score (MPS) that reflects the level of OXTR expression in the human brain. A total of 194 participants (Neuroimaging N = 50, Behavioral N = 144) performed a novel conformity task in which they viewed a series of word pairs depicting various moral values and virtues widely recognized in the United States. In each trial, participants indicated the relative importance of these words and subsequently learned about the majority opinion. Participants later rated the same word pairs a second time. Changes in participants’ ratings between the first and second sessions were measured and analyzed with respect to social feedback, blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals, and OXTR MPS. We found that participants adjusted their ratings in accordance with the majority opinions. Social misalignment between self and others activated brain areas such as the striatum and the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC). However, unlike most findings from previous studies, activation in the pMFC during the inconsistent social feedback negatively, rather than positively, predicted behavioral conformity. Notably, those with higher OXTR MPS had reduced pMFC activation in the face of social misalignment, which led to greater conformity. Our findings suggest that OT may promote conformity by dampening the conflict-related signals in the pMFC. They also show that OXTR MPS may be useful for studying the effect of genes on highly complex human social traits, such as conformity.
... Deactivation of the ventral striatum (VS) and activation of the dorsal posterior medial frontal cortex (dorsal pMFC) along with anterior insula (AI) have been observed when an individual's response deviates from group opinions. Therefore, deviant response in dorsal pMFC may predict people's behavioural adjustments regarding social conformity and public approval (Wu et al 2016). ...
... It provides a systematic opportunity to re-assess and compares already completed studies on similar topics (Allen 2009, Field andGillett 2010). The meta-analyses techniques are incrementally used in neurocognitive studies (Hopwood and Schutte 2016, Wu et al 2016, Bjornestad et al 2018. The current analysis has been performed in the following steps to ensure maximum transparent and comprehensive reporting of the results and conclusion regarding previous studies conducted on prosociality related themes; (i) the database searches and extraction according to the guidelines of the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) (Hutton et A database was searched online by using search engines like Google Scholar and ISI Web of Science by entering different keywords, including prosociality, prosocial, antisocial behaviour, altruism, empathy, and cooperation. ...
... Neuroimaging studies have uncovered a core neural network related to social alignment, including both the dorsal posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) that represent cognitive conflict ( Klucharev et al., 2009 ), and the anterior insula that encodes aversive arousal ( Izuma and Adolphs, 2013 ;Wu et al., 2016 ). Other brain regions have also been found to be involved in one's mind changing under social influence, such as the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) ( Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2019 ;Zhang and Gläscher, 2020 ). ...
... In line with previous findings about social conformity ( Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2019 ;Wu et al., 2016 ), we found out that the dACC, dmPFC, and insula were involved in processing misalignment with the majority. These results suggest that conflict monitoring and negative arousal are involved when social misalignment occurs. ...
Article
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To optimize our decisions, we may change our mind by utilizing social information. Here, we examined how changes of mind were modulated by Social Misalignment Sensitivity (SMS), the egocentric tendency, and decision preferences in a decision-making paradigm including both risk and social information. Combining functional magnetic resonance imaging with computational modeling, we showed that both SMS and the egocentric tendency modulated changes of mind under the influence of social information. While SMS was represented in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and superior parietal gyrus (SPG) in the socially aligned situation, a distributed brain network was activated in the misaligned condition, including not only the dACC and SPG but also superior frontal gyrus and precuneus. These results suggest that SMS is related to an attentional-monitoring brain system, the scope of which varies according to the level of misalignment with social majority. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex selectively interacted with SMS among the participants with a low switching threshold, indicating that its regulation on SMS may be sensitive to inter-individual variation. Our findings highlight the predominant roles of SMS and the prefrontal control system towards changes of mind under social influence.
... For example, activity level in the anterior insula (AI; primarily involved in encoding emotions) and activity level in the ventral striatum (VS; part of the reward system) which reflects valuation of conflicting stimuli (e.g., perceptual versus social information), are both predictive of conformist responding (Campbell-Meiklejohn, Bach, Roepstorff, Dolan, & Frith, 2010;Huber, Klucharev, & Rieskamp, 2015). This indicates that multiple processes of error detection, reinforcement learning mechanisms, and appraisal of emotions work in concert to potentially modify cognition (Schnuerch & Gibbons, 2014;Wu, Luo, & Feng, 2016) and differences in conformity behavior (Pei et al, 2020). Shamay-Tsoory and colleagues' (2019) theory additionally builds upon the human herding behavior (quite complex group behaviors can emerge among groups from local interactions without any central coordination; Raafat, Chater, & Frith, 2009) as well as predictive coding framework theory (e.g., Kilner, Friston, & Frith, 2007) which draw from the mirror neuron system of inferring intentions from others' action. ...
Thesis
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Humans conform. That is, humans align their behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs with others to learn and adapt. When we are uncertain, naïve, or believe that others know better than us – we can conform for informational reasons and imitate behaviors or ideas observed from the majority of those around us. If the masses are doing something we can suppose that it likely is effective or right. Likewise, when we need to strengthen bonds with others, fear being ostracized, or simply wish to befriend other individuals, we can normatively conform and strategically imitate their behaviors or ideas to signal affiliation outwardly, while still privately retaining our original beliefs. Importantly, although conformity is intrinsic to all human cultures and age-groups, there is also notable inter-individual variability in conformity propensity: Some individuals tend to conform often while others conform very rarely. This applies to both adults and young children. In this thesis I have addressed the variability in children’s conformity by investigating both propensity and motivation using an individual differences perspective. The overarching aim was to identify psychological (personality traits) and psychosocial factors (parents’ personality and parental style), as well as other social behaviors (obedience and altruistic behavior) that can help to explain why some children conform more than others, and importantly, why they differ in their motivation to conform. Using an Asch-style paradigm to elicit public conformity in 3.5-year-olds using adult (Study I) and peer (Studies II and III) confederates, we established individuals’ conformity propensity over eight trials. Additionally, using an eye-tracking task during each trial, we measured what the participant privately held as true after publicly conforming. This measure allowed us to differentiate whether the conformity was informational (believing that the majority’s inaccurate testimony was correct) or normative (knowing that it was not, but conforming for social reasons). The main findings reported in this thesis are (i) the personality trait extroversion has a U-shaped relationship with conformity propensity – low and high scores on this trait are predictive of more conformity to both adults (Study I) and peers (Study III); (ii) when children conform, high extroversion is predictive of doing so for a normative motivation and low extroversion for an informational (Studies I and III); (iii) children with higher conformity propensities are more likely to have displayed altruistic behavior but not obedience (Study II); and (iv) fathers’ authoritarian parental style is associated with their children’s conformity propensity (Study II).
... Amongst other brain regions, it has been shown that frontal regions as well as the reward system are strongly implicated in adaptation to group norms 10-12 . In particular, when exposed to a mismatch between the own and the group opinion, participants showed a deactivation of the ventral striatum and an open activation of medial frontal areas 8,10,13 , brain regions associated with conflict detection, reinforcement learning, and social cognition 2,8,10,11,14,15 . ...
Article
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Adapting one’s attitudes and behaviors to group norms is essential for successful social interaction and, thus, participation in society. Yet, despite its importance for societal and individual functioning, the underlying neuropharmacology is poorly understood. We therefore investigated its neurochemical and neural correlates in a pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) has been shown to alter social processing and therefore provides the unique opportunity to investigate the role of the 5-HT2A receptor in social influence processing. Twenty-four healthy human volunteers received either (1) placebo + placebo, (2) placebo + LSD (100 µg), or (3) the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist ketanserin (40 mg) + LSD (100 µg) at three different occasions in a double-blind, randomized, counterbalanced, cross-over design. LSD increases social adaptation but only if the opinions of others are similar to the individual’s own. These increases were associated with increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex while participants received social feedback. Furthermore, pretreatment with the 5-HT2A antagonist ketanserin fully blocked LSD-induced changes during feedback processing, indicating a key role of the 5-HT2A system in social feedback processing. Our results highlight the crucial role of the 5-HT-system in social influence and, thus, provide important insight into the neuropharmacological basis of social cognition and behavior.
... The majority of studies use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and experimental paradigms in which participants were exposed to stimuli accompanied with another's choices (Bikhchandani, Hirshleifer, & Welch, 1998), judgments (Berns et al., 2005), ratings (Nook & Zaki, 2015) or advice (Biele, Rieskamp, Krugel, & Heekeren, 2011;Qi et al., 20 18). A meta-analysis of conformity literature showed that pMFC activity can predict the behavioral change (conformity) (Wu, Luo, & Feng, 2016). It is interesting that the pMFC is also involved in metacognitive judgments associates with lower confidence (see Figure 3 in Molenberghs, Trautwein, Böckler, Singer, & Kanske, 2016). ...
Article
Mentalizing, conventionally defined as the process in which we infer the inner thoughts and intentions of others, is a fundamental component of human social cognition. Yet its role, and the nuanced layers involved, in real world social interaction are rarely discussed. To account for this lack of theory, we propose the interactive mentalizing theory (IMT) which emphasize the role of the metacognition in different mentalizing components. We discuss the connection between mentalizing, metacognition, and social interaction in the context of four elements of mentalizing: (i) Metacognition - inference of our own thought processes and social cognitions and which is central to all other components of mentalizing including: (ii) first-order mentalizing – inferring the thoughts and intentions of an agent’s mind; (iii) personal second-order mentalizing - inference of other’s mentalizing of one’s own mind; (iv) Collective mentalizing: which takes at least two forms (a) vicarious mentalizing: adopting another’s mentalizing of an agent (i.e. what we think others think of an agent) and (b) co-mentalizing: mentalizing about an agent in conjunction with others’ mentalizing of that agent (i.e. conforming to others beliefs about another agent’s internal states). The weights of these four elements is determined by metacognitive insight and confidence in one’s own or another’s mentalizing ability, yielding a dynamic interaction between these circuits. To advance our knowledge on mentalizing during live social interaction, we identify how these subprocesses can be organized by different target agents and facilitated by combining computational modeling and interactive brain approaches.
... In 1999, Levine examined Asch's four ideas to understand social influence in groups and replicated by using no confederates and reported that the minority women participants conformed to the majority, minority men did not. With so many debates on conformity the latest research by Wu, Luo, and Feng (2016) and Sowden et al. (2018) employed a coordinate-based meta-analysis to test social conformity and concluded that group opinions do not only influence people's overt behaviors but also result in altered valuation, which contribute to agreement and acceptance. Beran, (2015) examined the negative side effects of conformity in the fields of medical education and found that conformity lower the students' achievement as they are uniformed to study in groups and deal with challenges together instead of a peer achievement. ...
Article
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Objective – To increase firm performance, the stakeholders have been striving and working hard to achieve company goals. Prior research on entrepreneurship theories and influencing factors have been abundant especially in the sensemaking of the current dynamic environment and disruptive innovations. Social conformity is an act of following the majority in order to be liked, to be accepted or due to the group pressure. The literatures on social conformity mostly are in journals of psychology and very limited number of these journals are in the field of entrepreneurship. Methodology/Technique – This paper aims to examine the effects of social conformity hereinafter refer to purchase conformity and the factors influencing the purchase conformity to boost sales rate, namely social status, social influence, social ties and social comparison using the mixed-method methodology on 86 adult respondents located in Jakarta. Findings – The result shows that the social comparison has the biggest influence compared to social influence and social ties. Conformity in a deeper sense can benefit the company by predicting the future trend of the majority. Novelty – The ability to predict or even create the majority trend before the trend hits will boost the sales rate and give more competitive advantages to the company. Future research should address the individual psychological factors and the strategies of the firm to increase purchase conformity. Type of Paper: Empirical Keywords: Social Conformity; Social Ties; Social Comparison; Social Status; Purchase Conformity Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Princes E.; Manurung, A. H., 2020. Taking Advantage of Social Conformity in Entrepreneurship, J. Mgt. Mkt. Review, 5(1) 64 – 73. https://doi.org/10.35609/jmmr.2020.5.1(6) JEL Classification: M31, M21.
... When people's responses conflict with the group opinion, the ventral striatum is deactivated, and the regions of the posterior medial frontal cortex and anterior insula are activated. The activation of posterior medial frontal cortices can predict subsequent behavior conformity (Wu, Luo, & Feng, 2016). However, most studies have focused on social behavior in face-to-face environments (Thomas & Vinuales, 2017), whereas normative influence is much weaker in a virtual environment (Perfumi, Cardelli, Bagnoli, & Guazzini, 2016). ...
Article
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Compared with an offline context, the sources of online review are typically unknown, with more variable opinions from multiple individuals. This variability can make it difficult for consumers to judge the consensus of others' views using only direct social clues. However, few studies have focused on the brain's processing of mixed opinions in an online context. In this study, an experiment that involved voting on the helpfulness of online reviews was designed to investigate how participants processed their personal views alongside others' views. A total of 32 participants were asked to decide whether each online review was helpful and were then given feedback regarding how many people found each review helpful. Participants' voting behaviors and conformity feedback-related event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded and analyzed. Participants rated positive reviews as more helpful than negative reviews. Response times were longer when participants evaluated negative reviews. Therefore, the negativity bias of reviews may not result from the review's helpfulness but rather from the cognitive processing involved in the evaluation of the reviews. Further ERP analysis showed that the incongruence of participants' choices with the relative majority opinion generated from a ranking of a review's helpfulness elicited more negative-going feedback-related negativity and less positive-going P300 than did the condition of their choices' congruence with the relative majority opinion. This finding suggests that incongruence with the relative majority opinion was processed as negative feedback due to expectation violation, whereas congruence with the relative majority opinion was processed as positive feedback for conformity. Furthermore, the feedback-related negativity response elicited by the trials of inconsistency with relative majority opinions during the early period was smaller than that in the later period, whereas the P300 response elicited by the trials of consistency with relative majority opinions in the early period was greater than that in the later period. The ERP results suggest that even in an online context, the brain can automatically encode the relative majority opinion by learning from a comparison of other visible social cues, and automatically categorize whether one's personal views are consistent with those of the relative majority.
... In 1999, Levine examined Asch's four ideas to understand social influence in groups and replicated by using no confederates and reported that the minority women participants conformed to the majority, minority men did not. With so many debates on conformity the latest research by Wu, Luo, and Feng (2016) and Sowden et al. (2018) employed a coordinate-based meta-analysis to test social conformity and concluded that group opinions do not only influence people's overt behaviors but also result in altered valuation, which contribute to agreement and acceptance. Beran, (2015) examined the negative side effects of conformity in the fields of medical education and found that conformity lower the students' achievement as they are uniformed to study in groups and deal with challenges together instead of a peer achievement. ...
... Although there were no reports of the effect of group views on P300, social rewards, such as social recognition, tended to be received in line with the group. Numerous brain imaging studies have also shown that social conformity activates brain regions associated with reward processing, such as the striatum [8,12,59]. It can be seen that consistency with group opinions is processed as positive feedback by the brain. ...
Article
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Few studies have investigated the mechanism underlying the connection between votes and review helpfulness. A within-subject experiment with a between-group factor of personality traits was adopted to measure participants’ neural response in the processing of votes regarding review helpfulness. The results showed that a larger feedback-related negativity (FRN) and smaller P300 were induced when their personal voting behavior was inconsistent with the relative majority votes. The results confirmed that the participants established a reference frame of relative majority votes via comparison of the votes associated with other visible reviews and that they applied this reference frame to evaluate their personal voting behavior. Moreover, the participants with higher openness showed lower ΔFRN values, confirming the individual differences in the influence of the reference frame of the relative majority votes on outcome evaluation.
... At the brain system level, for both organizations, the presence of an audience (public versus private choices) engaged a brain network including the anterior insula, the ACC, and the right TPJ (Fig 5). The engagement of this brain network with concerns for social image may reflect meta-representations required for representing what other people think of us [36], such as the desire to conform to moral norms while giving to charities or when refusing to give to a bad cause [70][71][72][73]. Yet a recent Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) study indicates that the right TPJ may not be necessary to react to social reputation cues but may instead reduce the behavioral impact of moral-material conflicts [74], illustrating the need for noninvasive brain stimulation to establish the causal role of a specific brain region in a given function [75]. ...
Article
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Humans not only value extrinsic monetary rewards but also their own morality and their image in the eyes of others. Yet violating moral norms is frequent, especially when people know that they are not under scrutiny. When moral values and monetary payoffs are at odds, how does the brain weigh the benefits and costs of moral and monetary payoffs? Here, using a neurocomputational model of decision value (DV) and functional (f)MRI, we investigated whether different brain systems are engaged when deciding whether to earn money by contributing to a "bad cause" and when deciding whether to sacrifice money to contribute to a "good cause," both when such choices were made privately or in public. Although similar principles of DV computations were used to solve these dilemmas, they engaged 2 distinct valuation systems. When weighing monetary benefits and moral costs, people were willing to trade their moral values in exchange for money, an effect accompanied by DV computation engaging the anterior insula and the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC). In contrast, weighing monetary costs against compliance with one's moral values engaged the ventral putamen. Moreover, regardless of the type of dilemma, a brain network including the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), anterior insula, and the right temporoparietal junction (TJP) was more engaged in public than in private settings. Together, these findings identify how the brain processes three sources of motivation: extrinsic rewards, moral values, and concerns for image.
... In 1999, Levine examined Asch's four ideas to understand social influence in groups and replicated by using no confederates and reported that the minority women participants conformed to the majority, minority men did not. With so many debates on conformity the latest research by Wu, Luo, and Feng (2016) and Sowden et al. (2018) employed a coordinate-based meta-analysis to test social conformity and concluded that group opinions do not only influence people's overt behaviors but also result in altered valuation, which contribute to agreement and acceptance. Beran, (2015) examined the negative side effects of conformity in the fields of medical education and found that conformity lower the students' achievement as they are uniformed to study in groups and deal with challenges together instead of a peer achievement. ...
... These findings suggest that DMN helps to integrate signals of the relative importance of positive experiences with close others and strangers. A meta-analysis identified that social conformity converges on activation including the VS, dmPFC, and aIns (Wu et al., 2016). Integrating these findings suggests that social contexts are inherently rewarding and that social reward circuitry, especially involving the VS, have robust impacts on social behavior (Bhanji & Delgado, 2014). ...
Preprint
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In the past decade, decision neuroscience and its subfield of neuroeconomics have developed many new insights in the study of decision making. This review provides a comprehensive update on how the field has advanced in this time. Although our initial review a decade ago outlined several theoretical, conceptual, methodological, empirical, and practical challenges, there has only been limited progress in resolving these challenges. We summarize significant trends in decision neuroscience through the lens of the challenges outlined for the field and review examples where the field has had significant, direct, and applicable impacts across psychology, neuroscience, and economics. We will first review progress in basic value processes involved in reward learning, explore-exploit decisions, risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choice, and valuation. Next, we assess the impacts of emotion, social rewards, and social context on decision making. Then, we follow up with how individual differences impact choice, and exciting developments in prediction and neuroforecasting of future decisions. Finally, we will consider overall progress in the field of decision neuroscience in reconciling past challenges, identifying new challenges, and recent exciting applications of this research.
... In contrast to similar previous fMRI meta-analyses, which focused on general domain subjective value representation and expected values (Bartra et al., 2013;Clithero & Rangel, 2013;Gu et al., 2019), reinforcement learning signals across different reward types and contexts (Chase et al., 2015), social conformity signals (Wu et al., 2016), and the dissociation between PE valence and surprise (Fouragnan et al., 2018), here we aimed at learning signals, derived from any adaptive learning model, about a single signed variable, to study the effect of social uncertainty on learning. ...
Article
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Much of the uncertainty that clouds our understanding of the world springs from the covert values and intentions held by other people. Thus, it is plausible that specialized mechanisms that compute learning signals under uncertainty of exclusively social origin operate in the brain. To test this hypothesis, we scoured academic databases for neuroimaging studies involving learning under uncertainty, and performed a meta‐analysis of brain activation maps that compared learning in the face of social versus nonsocial uncertainty. Although most of the brain activations associated with learning error signals were shared between social and nonsocial conditions, we found some evidence for functional segregation of error signals of exclusively social origin during learning in limited regions of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and insula. This suggests that most behavioral adaptations to navigate social environments are reused from frontal and subcortical areas processing generic value representation and learning, but that a specialized circuitry might have evolved in prefrontal regions to deal with social context representation and strategic action. Much of the uncertainty that clouds our understanding of the world is caused by other people's actions and values. So there could be specialized mechanisms that compute learning signals under uncertainty of exclusively social origin operate in the brain. Our results suggest that most, but not all, behavioral adaptations to navigate social environments are reused from generic value representation and updating mechanisms.
... The results suggest that successful navigation of concerns for social conformity (as reflected in preference changes to match the views of superiors) could be influenced not only by the ability of one to recognize the relative social hierarchy of others but also by reputational concerns. To extend the existing body of literature on the neural basis of social conformity (Klucharev et al., 2009;Campbell-Meiklejohn et al., 2010;Izuma and Adolphs, 2013;Nook and Zaki, 2015; for a metaanalysis, see Wu et al., 2016), a future neuroimaging study could investigate the neural mechanisms whereby social hierarchy and anonymity modulate social conformity. Such a study would further expand the understanding of how the brain incorporates various types of social information and prioritizes only a subset of this information to achieve efficient decision-making in a complex social environment. ...
Article
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Why would people conform more to others with higher social positions? People may place higher confidence in the opinions of those who rank higher in the social hierarchy, or they may wish to make better impressions on people of higher social status. We investigated how individual preferences for novel stimuli are influenced by the preferences of others in the social hierarchy and whether anonymity affects such preference changes. After manipulation of their social rank, participants were asked to indicate how much they liked or disliked a series of images. Then, they were shown the rating given to each image by a partner (either inferior or superior in social rank) and were given a chance to adjust their ratings. The participants were more likely to change their preferences to match those of a superior partner in the public vs. private condition. The tendency to conform to the views of the superior partner was stronger among those with higher social dominance orientation (SDO) and those with greater fear of negative evaluation (FNE) by others. Altogether, the findings suggest that the motivation to make better impressions on people of higher social status can be the major driver of conformity to others with higher social positions.
... These findings suggest that DMN helps to integrate signals of the relative importance of positive experiences with close others and strangers. A meta-analysis identified that social conformity converges on activation including the VS, dmPFC, and aIns (Wu et al., 2016). Integrating these findings suggests that social contexts are inherently rewarding and that social reward circuitry, especially involving the VS, have robust impacts on social behavior (Bhanji & Delgado, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the past decade, decision neuroscience and neuroeconomics have developed many new insights in the study of decision making. This review provides an overarching update on how the field has advanced in this time period. Although our initial review a decade ago outlined several theoretical, conceptual, methodological, empirical, and practical challenges, there has only been limited progress in resolving these challenges. We summarize significant trends in decision neuroscience through the lens of the challenges outlined for the field and review examples where the field has had significant, direct, and applicable impacts across economics and psychology. First, we review progress on topics including reward learning, explore–exploit decisions, risk and ambiguity, intertemporal choice, and valuation. Next, we assess the impacts of emotion, social rewards, and social context on decision making. Then, we follow up with how individual differences impact choices and new exciting developments in the prediction and neuroforecasting of future decisions. Finally, we consider how trends in decision‐neuroscience research reflect progress toward resolving past challenges, discuss new and exciting applications of recent research, and identify new challenges for the field. This article is categorized under: Psychology > Reasoning and Decision Making Psychology > Emotion and Motivation This graphical abstract shows (1) progress made in the field of decision neuroscience over the past decade and (2) ongoing and future theoretical, methodological, practical, and empirical challenges affecting the field of decision neuroscience.
... It is a common phenomenon in daily life that we doubt ourselves and feel anxious or embarrassed when our behavior is different from that of a majority of others. Accordingly, we often align our behaviors, attitudes, and opinions to fit in with group norms, known as "social conformity" (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004;Wu et al., 2016). Social conformity is prevalent in daily lives and exerts its influence in our decisions, judgments, belief, and memory. ...
Article
We often align our behaviors, attitudes, and opinions in line with a majority of others, a phenomenon known as "social conformity." A seminal framework has proposed that conformity behaviors are mainly driven by three fundamental motives: a desire to gain more information to be accurate, to obtain social approval from others, and to maintain a favorable self-concept. However, previous studies usually have interpreted conformity behaviors as driven by one motive or another, largely ignoring the fact that human behaviors could be concurrently induced by multiple and even conflicting motivations. Adopting a typical conformity paradigm widely used in previous studies, we explored distinct and concurrent motives underlying the same conformity behavior, combining personality and individual differences with more nuanced analyses of observed conformity behaviors. Our findings provide novel evidence to show that three motivations exist within a single conformity behavior, suggesting that multiple motivations drive the conformity concurrently. These findings provide a potential solution for the extensive debate about what drives human social conformity and help to better understand the conformity behavior in daily life.
... The phenomenon may be particularly patent when those who conform and those who lead others to conform belong to the same social group 3 . Pioneering studies on the neural underpinnings of social conformity highlight the important role of reward-related (ventral-striatal) and conflict-related (medio-frontal) regions in mediating the adjustment to the opinions of others 43,44 . Moreover, activity in medio-frontal regions tracks the direction of preference change from one's own opinion towards or away from that of liked vs. disliked groups 7 . ...
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Social conformity refers to the tendency to align one’s own behaviors, beliefs and values to those of others. Little is known about social influence coming from a minority group. To test whether social pressure from sexual minorities triggers avoidance-motivated behaviors, we explored how being influenced by the preferences of gay peers modifies the behavioral and neural reactivity of individuals defined as in- vs. out- groups on the basis of sexual orientation. To this aim, we combined fMRI with a social conformity paradigm in which heterosexual and gay/bisexual (hereafter non-exclusively heterosexual, NEH) individuals provided with male body attractiveness ratings by a fictitious group of gay students may or may not alter their previous rating and may or may not conform to the mean. Behaviorally, conformity to the minority preference was found in in-group NEH more than in out-group heterosexuals. Analysis of BOLD signal showed that social pressure brought about increased brain activity in frontal and parietal regions associated with the detection of social conflict. These results show that members of a sexual majority group display a smaller level of conformity when a sexual minority group exerts social influence. However, the neural correlates of this modulation are yet to be clarified.
... The majority of studies use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and experimental paradigms in which participants were exposed to stimuli accompanied with another's choices (Bikhchandani, Hirshleifer, & Welch, 1998), judgments (Berns et al., 2005), ratings (Nook & Zaki, 2015) or advice (Biele, Rieskamp, Krugel, & Heekeren, 2011;Qi et al., 20 18). A meta-analysis of conformity literature showed that pMFC activity can predict the behavioral change (conformity) (Wu, Luo, & Feng, 2016). It is interesting that the pMFC is also involved in metacognitive judgments associates with lower confidence (see Figure 3 in Molenberghs, Trautwein, Böckler, Singer, & Kanske, 2016). ...
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Mentalizing, conventionally defined as the process in which we infer the inner thoughts and intentions of others, is a fundamental component of human social cognition. Yet its role, and the nuanced layers involved, in real world social interaction are rarely discussed. To account for this lack of theory, we propose the Interactive Mentalizing Theory (IMT). We discuss the connection between mentalizing, metacognition, and social interaction in the context of four elements of mentalizing: (i) Metacognition - inference of our own thought processes and social cognitions and which is central to all other components of mentalizing including: (ii) first-order mentalizing – inferring the thoughts and intentions of an agent’s mind; (iii) personal second-order mentalizing - inference of other’s mentalizing of one’s own mind; (iv) Collective mentalizing: which takes at least two forms (a) vicarious mentalizing: adopting another’s mentalizing of an agent (i.e. what we think others think of an agent) and (b) co-mentalizing: mentalizing about an agent in conjunction with others’ mentalizing of that agent (i.e. conforming to others beliefs about another agent’s internal states). The weights of these four elements is determined by metacognitive insight and confidence in one’s own or another’s mentalizing ability, yielding a dynamic interaction between these circuits. To advance our knowledge on mentalizing during live social interaction, we identify how these subprocesses can be organized by different target agents and facilitated by combining computational modeling and interactive brain approaches.
... Other categories of decisions likely also exist within this hierarchy. For example, active decisions to forgive (Fourie et al., 2020), norm-enforcing decisions (i.e., social influence on agreements or valuation) (Chang & Sanfey, 2013;Wu et al., 2016;Yang et al., 2019;Zinchenko & Arsalidou, 2018), and third-party altruistic punishment decisions for norm violations (Buckholtz et al., 2008;David et al., 2017;Fehr et al., 2004;Jordan et al., 2016) were not considered in this study because we sought to only examine decisions that directly benefited another person, but may reflect more specific prosocial decisions under the umbrella of the identified categories. ...
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Tasks that measure correlates of prosocial decision-making share one common feature: agents can make choices that increase the welfare of a beneficiary. However, prosocial decisions vary widely as a function of other task features. The diverse ways that prosociality is defined and the heterogeneity of prosocial decisions have created challenges for interpreting findings across studies and identifying their neural correlates. To overcome these challenges, we aimed to organize the prosocial decision-making task-space of neuroimaging studies. We conducted a systematic search for studies in which participants made decisions to increase the welfare of others during fMRI. We identified shared and distinct features of these tasks and employed an unsupervised graph-based approach to assess how various forms of prosocial decision-making are related in terms of their low-level components (e.g., task features like potential cost to the agent or potential for reciprocity). Analyses uncovered three clusters of prosocial decisions, which we labeled cooperation, equity, and altruism. This feature-based representation of the task structure was supported by results of a neuroimaging meta-analysis that each type of prosocial decisions recruited diverging neural systems. Results clarify some of the existing heterogeneity in how prosociality is conceptualized and generate insight for future research and task paradigm development.
... Likewise, participants expecting a painful stimulus demonstrate increased striatal activity while experiencing pain, compared with participants who do not expect to feel pain (Jepma et al., 2018;Schwarz et al., 2019; for a related effect of negative stigma, see Welborn et al., 2020). Finally, a recent meta-analysis reported that when perceivers agreed with expected group opinions, they demonstrated robust striatal activity compared with times in which they deviated from the group consensus (Wu et al., 2016). These studies suggest that insofar as perceivers hold a motivation to experience a specific event, the striatum responds to events that align with that motivation. ...
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People want to interact successfully with other individuals, and they invest significant efforts in attempting to do so. Decades of research have demonstrated that to simplify the dauntingly complex task of interpersonal communication, perceivers predict the responses of individuals in their environment using stereotypes and other sources of prior knowledge. Here, we show that these top-down expectations can also shape the subjective value of expectation-consistent and expectation-violating targets. Specifically, in two neuroimaging experiments (n = 58), we observed increased activation in brain regions associated with reward processing—including the nucleus accumbens—when perceivers observed information consistent with their social expectations. In two additional behavioral experiments (n = 704), we observed that perceivers were willing to forgo money to encounter an expectation-consistent target and avoid an expectation-violating target. Together, these findings suggest that perceivers value having their social expectations confirmed, much like food or monetary rewards.
... How can people form a broad impression of others given a combination of these unique endogenous states and external social information? "Social conformity" refers to people's tendency to adjust to social influence, including others' opinions, choices, and attitudes (5)(6)(7). Studies have also suggested that facial evaluation shifts due to social influence in facial judgment experiments (8,9). Further, according to Schnuerch (10), when weaker faces are encoded, the more people conform to the majority response regarding the faces' attractiveness-which could be attributed to the lack of reliable information on the faces. ...
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People experience events and form an impression of others in a way that is affected by social influence every day. In the present study, we designed a series of experiments centered on social influence to investigate people's bias in following others' opinions and its underlying neural predictors. Our results showed social conformity and proved that social influence-induced change can be predicted by the amount of electroencephalogram (EEG) variations when people view others' faces. This prediction effect is robust in the alpha-band over the right frontal and left occipital electrodes for negative influence. EEG variations can also predict the subsequent trust difference between negatively and positively influenced faces. Our findings suggest that higher EEG variations in the pre-influence task may serve as a predictor of high vulnerability to social influence. The present study provides a novel approach that considers both the stability of one's endogenous EEG and the variations in external task components to predict human social behaviors.
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In his seminal studies, Sherif (1935)showed that social norms can induce persistent changes in perceptual decisions. So far, however, the underlying mechanisms are not understood. Specifically, it is unclear whether social norms can lead to a persistent perceptual bias. Using a diffusion model analysis, we extended the social reinforcement account (social norms work via mechanisms of reinforcement learning). Thereby, our study is the first to disentangle whether the effect of social norms on perceptual decision-making is due to altering the uptake of sensory information (i.e., a perceptual bias)or due to shifting the decision criteria (i.e., a judgmental bias). Across two experiments, our results consistently show that learning of social norms shapes perceptual decision-making due to a lasting perceptual bias towards norm-congruent sensory information. This finding was not moderated by the sociality of the norm, that is, by how strongly norms were linked to group membership. Complementary to current psychological models, our results suggest that social norms might become and remain internalized because individuals are chronically biased towards norm-congruent information.
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A fundamental function of the brain is learning via new information. Studies investigating the neural basis of information-based learning processes indicate an important role played by the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) in representing conflict between an individual's expectation and new information. However, specific function of the pMFC in this process remains relatively indistinct. Particularly, it’s unclear whether the pMFC plays a role in the detection of conflict of incoming information, or the update of their belief after new information is provided. In an fMRI scanner, twenty-eight Japanese students viewed scenarios depicting various pro-social/anti-social behaviors. Participants rated how likely Japanese and South Korean students would perform each behavior, followed by feedback of the actual likelihood. They were then asked to rerate the scenarios after the fMRI session. Participants updated their second estimates based on feedback, with estimate changes more pronounced for favorable feedback (e.g., higher likelihood of pro-social behavior than expected) despite nationality, indicating participants were willing to view other people favorably. The fMRI results demonstrated activity in a part of the pMFC, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), was correlated with social conflict (difference between participant's estimate and actual likelihood), but not the corresponding belief update. Importantly, activity in a different part within the dmPFC was more sensitive to unfavorable trials compared to favorable trials. These results indicate sensitivity in the pMFC (at least within the dmPFC) relates to conflict between desirable outcomes versus reality, as opposed to the associated update of belief.
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Tasks that measure correlates of prosocial decision-making share one common feature: agents can make choices that increase the welfare of a beneficiary. However, prosocial decisions vary widely as a function of other task features. The diverse ways that prosociality is defined and the heterogeneity of prosocial decisions have created challenges for interpreting findings across studies and identifying their neural correlates. To overcome these challenges, the present study aimed to organize the prosocial decision-making task-space of neuroimaging studies. We conducted a systematic search for studies in which participants made decisions to increase the welfare of others during fMRI. We identified shared and distinct features of these tasks and employed an unsupervised graph-based approach to assess how various forms of prosocial decision-making are related in terms of their low-level components (e.g., task features like potential cost to the agent or potential for reciprocity). We uncovered three clusters of prosocial decisions: cooperation, equity, and altruism. This feature-based representation of the task structure was supported by results of a neuroimaging meta-analysis that each category of prosocial decisions recruited diverging neural systems. Results clarify some of the existing heterogeneity in how prosociality is conceptualized and generate insight for future research and task paradigm development.
Chapter
Early in this chapter I introduce Melzack’s concept of the neuromatrix and then extend it beyond the human brain into a wider metaphor for a cultural neuromatrix. I will extract what I believe are the functional principles underpinning this matrix metaphor (such as organisation, modulation, signature ghosts and interoceptive modelling) and apply these in more abstract terms. The chapter then will progress to the more social and cultural dimensions of the pain neuromatrix. Two articulations of the social dimensions to pain will be described. A key element of the cultural neuromatrix are cultural neurosignatures, the refrains that capture pain and fashion it into specific forms and relationships. In the final section I will introduce the idea that pain is a commodity and underpinning its value as a commodity is its capacity to shapeshift. It is this shapeshifting capacity that reveals the derivative logic to commodity pain.
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Advertising slogans serve the function of persuasive communication by presenting catchy phrases. To decide whether a slogan is convincing or not, cognitive reasoning is assumed to be complemented by a more implicit and intuitive route of information processing, presumably similar to evaluating normative judgments in moral statements. We employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while Western male subjects judged advertising slogans and moral statements as another decision task with subjective nature. Compared to a neutral control condition that targeted declarative memory and to an aesthetic‐related condition, the evaluation processes in both domains engaged the anterior medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is associated with decision‐making incorporating personal value. Conjoint activations were also observed in the left temporoparietal junction (TPJ) when compared to the aesthetics condition. Results are discussed with reference to domain‐independence, a suspected difference to aesthetic‐like appreciations, and functional organization in the mPFC and the TPJ.
Chapter
The relationship between politics and biopsychology is complex. But first, an explanation of biopsychology itself is in order. As a biopsychologist I have frequently been asked to explain my speciality even to other psychologists. Biopsychology is all about the biology of behavior, human and animal. Biopsychologists are trained in the methodology of behavioral research and in biology but are psychologists not biologists. There are neurological underpinnings to behavior and these are being explored vigorously. Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system in relation to function and behavior. Political science and neuroscience have been connecting for the last decade (Arciniegas & Anderson, 2017; Chawke & Kanai, 2016; Fowler & Schreiber, 2008; Haas, 2016; McDermott, 2009; Pedersen, Muftuler, & Larson, 2018). Biopsychology is part of that mix (Jost, Nam, Amodio, & Bavel, 2014; Kandler, Bleidorn, & Riemann, 2012; Marcus, 2013; Norris, Gollan, Berntson, & Cacioppo, 2010; Settle, Dawes, Loewen, & Panagopoulos, 2017).
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Rats adapt their food choices to conform to their conspecifics’ dietary preferences. The Nucleus Accumbens Shell is a relevant brain region to process reward‐related and motivated behaviors as well as social information. Here, we hypothesize that the integrity of the Nucleus Accumbens Shell is necessary to show socially transmitted food preferences. We made excitotoxic and sham lesions of Nucleus Accumbens Shell in male Long‐Evans rats who performed a social transmission of food preference task. In this task, observer rats revealed their original preference for one out of two food options. Afterward, they were exposed to a demonstrator rat who was fed with the observer’s originally non‐preferred food, and the observer’s food choices were sampled again. Sham lesioned observer rats changed their food preferences following interaction with the demonstrator, specifically by increasing the intake of their originally non‐preferred food type. This interaction‐related change in preference was not found after Nucleus Accumbens Shell lesions. The lesion‐effects on choice were not the consequence of impaired social or non‐social motivation, anxiety, or sensory or motor function, suggesting that they reflected a genuine deficit in social reward revaluation. These results highlight the role of Nucleus Accumbens Shell in revaluating food rewards to match a conspecific’s preferences.
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Social misalignment occurs when a person’s attitudes and opinions deviate from those of others. We investigated how individuals react to social misalignment in risky (outcome probabilities are known) or ambiguous (outcome probabilities are unknown) decision contexts. During each trial, participants played a forced-choice gamble, and they observed the decisions of four other players after they made a tentative decision, followed by an opportunity to keep or change their initial decision. Behavioral and event-related potential data were collected. Behaviorally, the stronger the participants’ initial preference, the less likely they were to switch their decisions; whereas the more their decisions were misaligned with the majority, the more likely they were to switch. Electrophysiological results showed a hierarchical processing pattern of social misalignment. Misalignment was first detected binarily (i.e., match/mismatch) at an early stage, as indexed by the N1 component. During the second stage, participants became sensitive to low levels of misalignment, which were indexed by the feedback-related negativity. The degree of social misalignment was processed in greater detail, as indexed by the P3 component. Moreover, such hierarchical neural sensitivity is generalizable across different decision contexts (i.e., risky and ambiguous). These findings demonstrate a fine-grained neural sensitivity to social misalignment during decision-making under uncertainty.
Chapter
Conformity is a form of social influence in which individuals align their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with other members of a group. Numerous neuroimaging findings support the hypothesis that human conformity is underlined by the basic (dopamine-related) learning mechanism: conflicts with a group opinion generate a “social” reward prediction error signal. Thus, a difference between an individual behavior and the group behavior is perceived as a behavioral error. The recent neuroimaging studies further support this conclusion and suggest that the ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex continuously update subjective values based on a comparison of our own actions and the behavior of others.
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The experience of agency refers to the phenomenal experience of being the causal source of one's own actions, and through them, the course of events in the outside world. This experience is crucial for the production of adaptive actions, and for the adequate communication of felt action control to peers. The present study examines the possibility that, on certain occasions and under specific internal and external constraints, people rely on explicit social information provided by their peers to revise their self-reports of perceived control, i.e., their judgment of agency. To test this hypothesis, we adapted a task based on an interactive computer game. We manipulated well-known sensorimotor agency cues related to action control, as well as social information communicated to participants by two advisors. We measured the contribution of social and non-social sources of information to agency judgments. We found that at the single-trial level, participants align their JoA with advisor feedback based on their own performance during the task, the type of feedback provided by advisors, and the interaction of this social feedback with the sensorimotor agency cues. At the same time, JoA alignment in previous trial also predicted participants' tendency to revise their JoA after social feedback. Overall, these results demonstrate that agency judgment is subject to social influence. This influence is the result of the integration of social and non-social information at the scale of a single judgment, while also being driven by repeated past interactions with peers.
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Seminal studies on social influence (Asch, 1956; Sherif, 1935) were based on face-to-face interactions between humans. Nowadays, computer-mediated communication is steadily becoming ubiquitous, and we are increasingly influenced by non-human agents, such as algorithms, robots, and chatbots. The present research aimed to answer two important questions: Can non-human agents exert social influence in a persistent manner and, thus, contribute to the emergence of social norms? And if this is the case, is social influence exerted by non-human agents mediated by the same or by different cognitive mechanisms as social influence exerted by human agents? To answer these questions, we used an online version of an established paradigm in research on social norm learning. To examine the cognitive underpinnings of social influence, we used a diffusion model approach. Our results provide strong evidence for the notion that non-human agents can induce persistent social influence outside an immediate group context and, hence, can contribute to the emergence of social norms. Furthermore, results from our diffusion model analyses support the notion that social influence exerted by non-human agents is mainly mediated by the same cognitive mechanisms as social influence exerted by human agents.
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Changed reward functions have been proposed as a core feature of stimulant addiction, typically observed as reduced neural responses to non-drug-related rewards. However, it was unclear yet how specific this deficit is for different types of non-drug rewards arising from social and non-social reinforcements. We used functional neuroimaging in cocaine users to investigate explicit social reward as modeled by agreement of music preferences with music experts. Additionally, we investigated non-social reward as modeled by winning desired music pieces. The study included 17 chronic cocaine users and 17 matched stimulant-naive healthy controls. Cocaine users, compared to controls, showed blunted neural responses to both social and non-social reward. Activation differences were located in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex overlapping for both reward types and, thus, suggesting a non-specific deficit in the processing of non-drug rewards. Interestingly, in the posterior lateral orbitofrontal cortex, social reward responses of cocaine users decreased with the degree to which they were influenced by social feedback from the experts, a response pattern that was opposite to that observed in healthy controls. The present results suggest that cocaine users likely suffer from a generalized impairment in value representation as well as from an aberrant processing of social feedback.
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The anterior insula (AI) and mid-anterior cingulate cortex (mACC) have repeatedly been implicated in first-hand and vicarious experiences of pain, disgust, and unfairness. However, it is debated whether these regions process different aversive events through a common modality-independent code, reflecting the shared unpleasantness of the experiences, or through independent modality-specific representations. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we subjected 19 participants (and 19 confederates) to equally unpleasant painful and disgusting stimulations, as well as unfair monetary treatments. Multivoxel pattern analysis identified modality-independent activation maps in the left AI and mACC, pointing to common coding of affective unpleasantness, but also response patterns specific for the events’ sensory properties and the person to whom it was addressed, particularly in the right AI. Our results provide evidence of both functional specialization and integration within AI and mACC, and support a comprehensive role of this network in processing aversive experiences for self and others.
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The development of closer ties between researchers and practitioners in the domain of behavior and behavioral change offers useful opportunities for better informing public policy campaigns via a deeper understanding of the psychological processes that operate in real-world decision-making. Here, we focus on the domain of social conformity, and suggest that the recent emergence of laboratory work using neuroscientific techniques to probe the brain basis of social influence can prove a useful source of data to better inform models of conformity. In particular, we argue that this work can have an important role to play in better understanding the specific mechanisms at work in social conformity, in both validating and extending current psychological theories of this process, and in assessing how behavioral change can take place as a result of exposure to the judgments of others. We conclude by outlining some promising future directions in this domain, and indicating how this research could potentially be usefully applied to policy issues.
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During the transformative period of adolescence, social influence plays a prominent role in shaping young people's emerging social identities, and can impact their propensity to engage in prosocial or risky behaviors. In the present study, we examine the neural correlates of social influence from both parents and peers, two important sources of influence. Nineteen adolescents (age 16-18 years) completed a social influence task during an fMRI scan. Social influence from both sources evoked activity in brain regions implicated in mentalizing (MPFC, RTPJ, LTPJ), reward (VMPFC), and self-control (RVLPFC). These results suggest that mental state reasoning, social reward, and self-control processes may help adolescents to evaluate others' perspectives and overcome the prepotent force of their own antecedent attitudes in order to shift their attitudes towards those of others. Findings suggest common neural networks involved in social influence from both parents and peers. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
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Individuals’ risk attitudes are known to guide choices about uncertain options. However, in the presence of others’ decisions, these choices can be swayed and manifest as riskier or safer behavior than one would express alone. To test the mechanisms underlying effective social ‘nudges’ in human decision-making, we used functional neuroimaging and a task in which participants made choices about gambles alone and after observing others’ selections. Against three alternative explanations, we found that observing others’ choices of gambles increased the subjective value (utility) of those gambles for the observer. This ‘other-conferred utility’ was encoded in ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and these neural signals predicted conformity. We further identified a parametric interaction with individual risk preferences in anterior cingulate cortex and insula. These data provide a neuromechanistic account of how information from others is integrated with individual preferences that may explain preference-congruent susceptibility to social signals of safety and risk.
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Obesity contributes to 2.8 million deaths annually, making interventions to promote healthy eating critical. Although preliminary research suggests that social norms influence eating behavior, the underlying psychological and neural mechanisms of such conformity remain unexplored. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate whether group norms shift individuals’ preferences for foods at both behavioral and neural levels. Hungry participants rated how much they wanted to eat a series of healthy and unhealthy foods and, after each trial, saw ratings that ostensibly represented their peers’ preferences. This feedback was manipulated such that peers appeared to prefer each food more than, less than, or as much as participants themselves. After a delay, participants re-rated each food. Participants’ second ratings shifted to resemble group norms. Initial consensus, as compared to disagreement, with peers produced activity in the nucleus accumbens, a region associated with reward prediction errors. Further, the strength of this activity predicted the extent to which participants’ ratings conformed to peer ratings, suggesting that the value associated with consensus drives social influence. Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC), a region associated with value computation, initially responded more strongly to unhealthy, as compared to healthy, foods. However, this effect was “overwritten” by group norms: after individuals learned their peers’ preferences, vMPFC responses tracked the popularity, but not the healthfulness, of foods. Further, changes in vMPFC activity tracked social influence over behavioral ratings. These data provide evidence that group norms can shift food preferences, supporting the use of norms-based interventions to promote healthy eating.
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Social decision-making tasks involve psychological processes key to effective functioning in a complex, social world. The Ultimatum Game (UG) is a widely studied social decision-making task, which models responses to fairness. A number of neuroimaging studies have investigated the UG to identify neural correlates of unfairness and decisions to reject versus accept an offer. We present the first quantitative summary of neuroimaging studies in social decision-making with a meta-analysis of 11 fMRI studies of the UG, including data from 282 participants. Effect-Size Signed Differential Mapping was used to estimate effect sizes from statistical parametric maps and reported peak information before meta-analysing them. Consistent activations were seen in the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), supplementary motor area (SMA) and cerebellum in response to unfair offers. Robust activations in the ACC, SMA and putamen were seen when deciding to reject rather than accept UG offers. These are consistent with models of motivational conflict during the UG decision-making process, a response to norm violations, with a possible role for the reward system.
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Informational cascades can occur when rationally acting individuals decide independently of their private information and follow the decisions of preceding decision-makers. In the process of updating beliefs, differences in the weighting of private and publicly available social information may modulate the probability that a cascade starts in a decisive way. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined neural activity while participants updated their beliefs based on the decisions of two fictitious stock market traders and their own private information, which led to a final decision of buying one of two stocks. Computational modeling of the behavioral data showed that a majority of participants overweighted private information. Overweighting was negatively correlated with the probability of starting an informational cascade in trials especially prone to conformity. Belief updating by private information was related to activity in the inferior frontal gyrus/anterior insula, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the parietal cortex; the more a participant overweighted private information, the higher the activity in the inferior frontal gyrus/anterior insula and the lower in the parietal-temporal cortex. This study explores the neural correlates of overweighting of private information, which underlies the tendency to start an informational cascade.
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Humans are strongly influenced by their environment, a dependence that can lead to errors in judgment. Although a rich literature describes how people are influenced by others, little is known regarding the factors that predict subsequent rectification of misleading influence. Using a mediation model in combination with brain imaging, we propose a model for the correction of misinformation. Specifically, our data suggest that amygdala modulation of hippocampal mnemonic representations, during the time of misleading social influence, is associated with reduced subsequent anterior-lateral prefrontal cortex activity that reflects correction. These findings illuminate the process by which erroneous beliefs are, or fail to be, rectified and highlight how past influence constrains subsequent correction.
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When people are faced with opinions different from their own, they often revise their own opinions to match those held by other people. This is known as the social-conformity effect. Although the immediate impact of social influence on people's decision making is well established, it is unclear whether this reflects a transient capitulation to public opinion or a more enduring change in privately held views. In an experiment using a facial-attractiveness rating task, we asked participants to rate each face; after providing their rating, they were informed of the rating given by a peer group. They then rerated the same faces after 1, 3, or 7 days or 3 months. Results show that individuals' initial judgments are altered by the differing opinions of other people for no more than 3 days. Our findings suggest that because the social-conformity effect lasts several days, it reflects a short-term change in privately held views rather than a transient public compliance.
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Talking about emotion and sharing emotional experiences is a key component of human interaction. Specifically, individuals often consider the reactions of other people when evaluating the meaning and impact of an emotional stimulus. It has not yet been investigated, however, how emotional arousal ratings and physiological responses elicited by affective stimuli are influenced by the rating of an interaction partner. In the present study, pairs of participants were asked to rate and communicate the degree of their emotional arousal while viewing affective pictures. Strikingly, participants adjusted their arousal ratings to match up with their interaction partner. In anticipation of the affective picture, the interaction partner’s arousal ratings correlated positively with activity in anterior insula and prefrontal cortex. During picture presentation, social influence was reflected in the ventral striatum, that is, activity in the ventral striatum correlated negatively with the interaction partner’s ratings. Results of the study show that emotional alignment through the influence of another person’s communicated experience has to be considered as a complex phenomenon integrating different components including emotion anticipation and conformity.
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Cultural differences are generally explained by how people see themselves in relation to social interaction partners. While Western culture emphasizes independence, East Asian culture emphasizes interdependence. Despite this focus on social interactions, it remains elusive how people from different cultures process feedback on their own (and on others') character traits. Here, participants of either German or Chinese origin engaged in a face-to-face interaction. Consequently, they updated their self- and other-ratings of 80 character traits (e.g., polite, pedantic) after receiving feedback from their interaction partners. To exclude potential confounds, we obtained data from German and Chinese participants in Berlin [functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)] and in Beijing (behavior). We tested cultural influences on social conformity, positivity biases, and self-related neural activity. First, Chinese conformed more to social feedback than Germans (i.e., Chinese updated their trait ratings more). Second, regardless of culture, participants processed self- and other-related feedback in a positively biased way (i.e., they updated more toward desirable than toward undesirable feedback). Third, changes in self-related medial prefrontal cortex activity were greater in Germans than in Chinese during feedback processing. By investigating conformity, positivity biases, and self-related activity in relation to feedback obtained in a real-life interaction, we provide an essential step toward a unifying framework for understanding the diversity of human culture.
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Social animals constantly make decisions together. What determines if individuals will subsequently adjust their behavior to align with collective choices? Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans, we characterize a novel temporal model of brain response from the time a collective decision is made to the time an individual action is required. We reveal that whether a behavioral modification will occur is determined not necessarily by the brain's response to the initial social influence, but by how that response (specifically in the orbitofrontal cortex; OFC) is mirrored at a later time when the individual selects their own action. This result suggests that the OFC may reconstitute an initial state of collective influence when individual action is subsequently needed. Importantly, these dynamics vary across individuals as a function of trait conformity and mediate the relationship between this personality characteristic and behavioral adjustment toward the group.
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When individuals' actions are incongruent with those of the group they belong to, they may change their initial behavior in order to conform to the group norm. This phenomenon is known as "social conformity." In the present study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate brain activity in response to group opinion during an ultimatum game. Results showed that participants changed their choices when these choices conflicted with the normative opinion of the group they were members of, especially in conditions of unfair treatment. The fMRI data revealed that a conflict with group norms activated the brain regions involved in norm violations and behavioral adjustment. Furthermore, in the reject-unfair condition, we observed that a conflict with group norms activated the medial frontal gyrus. These findings contribute to recent research examining neural mechanisms involved in detecting violations of social norms, and provide information regarding the neural representation of conformity behavior in an economic game.
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