Beer JS, John OP, Scabini D, Knight RT. Orbitofrontal cortex and social behavior: integrating self-monitoring and emotion-cognition interactions. J Cogn Neurosci 18: 871-879

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 4.09). 07/2006; 18(6):871-9. DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2006.18.6.871
Source: PubMed


The role of the orbitofrontal cortex in social behavior remains a puzzle. Various theories of the social functions of the orbitofrontal cortex focus on the role of this area in either emotional processing or its involvement in online monitoring of behavior (i.e., self-monitoring). The present research attempts to integrate these two theories by examining whether improving the self-monitoring of patients with orbitofrontal damage is associated with the generation of emotions needed to guide interpersonal behavior. Patients with orbitofrontal damage, patients with lateral prefrontal damage, and healthy controls took part in an interpersonal task. After completing the task, participants' self-monitoring was increased by showing them a videotape of their task performance. In comparison to healthy controls and patients with lateral prefrontal damage, orbitofrontal damage was associated with objectively inappropriate social behavior. Although patients with orbitofrontal damage were aware of social norms of intimacy, they were unaware that their task performance violated these norms. The embarrassment typically associated with inappropriate social behavior was elicited in these patients only after their self-monitoring increased from viewing their videotaped performance. These findings suggest that damage to the orbitofrontal cortex impairs self-insight that may preclude the generation of helpful emotional information. The results highlight the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in the interplay of self-monitoring and emotional processing and suggest avenues for neurorehabilitation of patients with social deficits subsequent to orbitofrontal damage.

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    • "Other studies have shown impaired social value judgments in patients with orbitofrontal lesions. For example, these patients struggle to distinguish emotional facial expressions (Hornak et al., 1996, 2003), make abnormal social judgments (Mah et al., 2004; Willis et al., 2010) and frequently make social faux pas (Beer et al., 2006; Leopold et al., 2012). Based on the association between vmPFC and impaired social behaviors and judgments, it would be reasonable to expect that patients with vmPFC would also exhibit impairments in political thinking. "
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    ABSTRACT: Given the determinant role of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) in valuation, we examined whether vmPFC lesions also modulate how people scale political beliefs. Patients with penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI; N=102) and healthy controls (HC; N=31) were tested on the Political Belief Task, where they rated 75 statements expressing political opinions concerned with welfare, economy, political involvement, civil rights, war and security. Each statement was rated for level of agreement and scaled along three dimensions: radicalism, individualism, and conservatism. Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) analysis showed that diminished scores for the radicalism dimension (i.e., statements were rated as less radical than the norms) were associated with lesions in bilateral vmPFC. After dividing the pTBI patients into three groups, according to lesion location (i.e., vmPFC, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [dlPFC] and parietal cortex), we found that the vmPFC, but not the dlPFC, group had reduced radicalism scores compared to parietal and HC groups. These findings highlight the crucial role of the vmPFC in appropriately valuing political behaviors and may explain certain inappropriate social judgments observed in patients with vmPFC lesions. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email:
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
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    • "The OFC, which is a convergence zone for multiple cognitive systems including the amygdala, is thought to integrate on a moment-to-moment basis the affective salience of external stimuli [66] [67]. Evaluation of a situation in relation to oneself is defined by emotion theorists as emotional appraisal [68]. The two-factor hypothesis predicts that patients with PNES are more likely to have OFC dysfunction relating to evaluating appropriate emotional responses to affective stimuli (emotional appraisal) than patients with epilepsy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) often mimic epileptic seizures and occur in both people with and without epilepsy. Pathophysiology of conversion disorders such as PNES remains unclear though significant psychological, psychiatric and environmental factors have been correlated with a diagnosis of PNES. Many clinical signs that have been considered typical for PNES can also be found in frontal epileptic seizures. Given the resemblance of seizures and affective changes from Orbitofrontal cortical dysfunction to PNES like events and correlation of psychological and environmental stress to conversion disorders such as PNES, we propose a two-factor model for the pathogenesis of PNES. We hypothesize that patients with PNES could have a higher likelihood of having both Orbitofrontal cortical dysfunction and a history of psychological stressors rather than a higher likelihood of having either one or the other. We further explore the implications of this two-factor model, including possible therapies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Medical Hypotheses
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    • "Our observed vMPFC/mOFC overlap between self and other may, therefore , suggest integration of previous social experiences at the service of self-updating during rest. This is supported by the extant literature [e.g., Bechara et al., 2003; Beer et al., 2006; Northoff and Bermpohl, 2004; Philippi et al., 2012a; Rosen et al., 2010]. Conventional neuroimaging (fMRI/PET) studies in healthy populations link the vMPFC with the mental generation and representation of self-referential stimuli [Northoff and Bermpohl, 2004]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroscience literature increasingly suggests a conceptual self composed of interacting neural regions, rather than independent local activations, yet such claims have yet to be investigated. We, thus, combined task-dependent meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) with task-independent resting-state (RS) connectivity analysis to delineate the neural network of the self, across both states. Given psychological evidence implicating the self’s interdependence on social information, we also delineated the neural network underlying conceptual other-processing. To elucidate the relation between the self-/other-networks and their function, we mined the MACM metadata to generate a cognitive–behavioral profile for an empirically identified region specific to conceptual self, the pregenual anterior cingulate (pACC), and conceptual other, posterior cingulate/precuneus (PCC/PC). Mining of 7,200 published, task-dependent, neuroimaging studies, using healthy human subjects, yielded 193 studies activating the self-related seed and were conjoined with RS connectivity analysis to delineate a differentiated self-network composed of the pACC (seed) and anterior insula, relative to other functional connectivity. Additionally, 106 studies activating the other-related seed were conjoined with RS connectivity analysis to delineate a differentiated other-network of PCC/PC (seed) and angular gyrus/temporoparietal junction, relative to self-functional connectivity. The self-network seed related to emotional conflict resolution and motivational processing, whereas the other-network seed related to socially oriented processing and contextual information integration. Notably, our findings revealed shared RS connectivity between ensuing self-/other-networks within the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and medial orbitofrontal cortex, suggesting self-updating via integration of self-relevant social information. We, therefore, present initial neurobiological evidence corroborating the increasing claims of an intricate self-network, the architecture of which may promote social value processing.
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