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Thinking about others and the future: Neural correlates of perspective taking relate to preferences for delayed rewards

Thinking about others and the future: Neural correlates of perspective taking relate to preferences for delayed rewards

Published in: Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, Volume 18, Issue 1, 35-42

Abstract
“We infer the thoughts and feelings of others by taking their perspectives. Similar processes could be used to understand how we will be affected by future events, by allowing us to take the perspective of our future self. In this paper, we test this idea using a previously presented framework for guiding predictions. The framework proposes that a shared neural mechanism is involved in controlling egocentric bias, both while shifting our perspective away from self and towards others, and while shifting our perspective from immediate to future perspectives. To test this framework, 36 adults performed an intertemporal choice task. They were then scanned using 3T functional magnetic resonance imaging while completing a false-belief “localizer” task, which requires egocentric bias control. A positive correlation was observed between the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) response during the false-belief task, and preferences for delayed rewards in intertemporal choices. A subset of participants performed the intertemporal choice task again in the scanner, which revealed that the response of the same rTPJ cluster, individually localized during the false-belief task, was higher during delayed over immediate reward choices. In addition, functional connectivity between the rTPJ and ventromedial prefrontal cortex was found to differ between immediate and delayed choices. The current results indicate an overlap in processes of egocentric bias control and those that determine preferences in intertemporal choices, offering a social cognitive explanation for why rewards are devalued with delay in temporal discounting.”

Written by: Garret O’Connell, Chun-Ting Hsu, Anastasia Christakou, Bhismadev Chakrabarti
For full text: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-017-0550-8

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