Medial Prefrontal Cortex Activation Is Commonly Invoked by Reputation of Self and Romantic Partners

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Abstract

The reputation of others influences partner selection in human cooperative behaviors through verbal reputation representation. Although the way in which humans represent the verbal reputations of others is a pivotal issue for social neuroscience, the neural correlates underlying the representation of verbal reputations of others are unclear. Humans primarily depend on self-evaluation when assessing reputation of self. Likewise, humans might primarily depend on self-evaluation of others when representing their reputation. As interaction promotes the formation of more nuanced, individualized impressions of an interaction partner, humans tend to form self-evaluations of persons with whom they are intimate in their daily life. Thus, we hypothesized that the representation of reputation of others is modulated by intimacy due to one's own evaluation formation of that person. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment with 11 pairs of romantic partners while they viewed an evaluation of a target person (self, partner [intimate other], or stranger [non-intimate other]), made by other evaluators. When compared with strangers, viewing evaluations of self and partner activated overlapping regions in the medial prefrontal cortex. Verbal reputation of self-specific activation was found in the precuneus, which represents self-related processing. The data suggest that midline structures represent reputation of self. In addition, intimacy-modulated activation in the medial prefrontal cortex suggests that the verbal reputation of intimate others is represented similarly to reputation of self. These results suggest that the reputation representation in the medial prefrontal cortex is engaged by verbal reputation of self and intimate others stemming from both own and other evaluators' judgments. © 2013 Kawamichi et al.

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Kawamichi, H., Sasaki, A. T., Matsunaga, M., Yoshihara, K., Takahashi, H. K., Tanabe, H. C., & Sadato, N. (2013). Medial Prefrontal Cortex Activation Is Commonly Invoked by Reputation of Self and Romantic Partners. PLoS ONE, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074958

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