Jean-Claude Dreher has invited Tobias Kalenscher from the department of Experimental psychology from the University of Düsseldorf to come and give a talk at ISC about:
When social distance matters - Social discounting involves modulation of neural value signals by temporal-parietal junction.
Most people are generous, but not towards everyone alike: generosity usually declines with social distance between individuals, a phenomenon called social discounting. We used fMRI to study the neural basis of this process. Participants chose between selfish and generous alternatives, yielding either a large reward for the participant alone, or smaller rewards for the participant and another individual at a particular social distance. We found that neural activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) reflected not only own-reward value, but also the extra value of a generous choice. Generous choices additionally engaged temporal-parietal junction (TPJ). TPJ activity was scaled to the social-distance-dependent conflict between selfish and generous motives during prosocial choice, consistent with ideas that TPJ promotes generosity by facilitating overcoming egoism bias. We propose and provide evidence for a neural model according to which TPJ supports social discounting by modulating basic neural value signals in VMPFC to incorporate social-distance-dependent other-regarding preferences into an otherwise exclusive own-reward value representation.