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Causal manipulation of self-other-mergence in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex

Wittmann, Marco K and Trudel, Nadescha and Trier, Hailey A and Klein-Flügge, Miriam C and Sel, Alejandra and Verhagen, Lennart and Rushworth, Matthew FS (2021) 'Causal manipulation of self-other-mergence in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.' Neuron, 109 (14). 2353-2361.e11. ISSN 0896-6273

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To navigate social environments, people must simultaneously hold representations about their own and others’ abilities. During self-other-mergence, people estimate others’ abilities not only on the basis of the others’ past performances, but in addition the estimates are also influenced by their own performances. For example, if we ourselves perform well, we overestimate the abilities of those we are co-operating with and underestimate competitors. Self-other mergence is associated with specific activity patterns in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). Using a combination of non-invasive brain stimulation, functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational modelling, we show that dmPFC neurostimulation silences these neural signatures of self-other-mergence in relation to the estimation of others’ abilities. In consequence, self-other-mergence behavior increases and our assessments of our own performance are increasingly projected onto other people. This suggests an inherent tendency to form interdependent social representations and a causal role for dmPFC in separating self and other representations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: social cognition; MRI; frontal cortex; self-other mergence; brain stimulation; performance tracking; reinforcement learning; learning and decision making
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 25 May 2021 13:42
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:24

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