Neural computations underlying strategic social decision-making in groups.

Research paper by Seongmin A SA Park, Mariateresa M Sestito, Erie D ED Boorman, Jean-Claude JC Dreher

Indexed on: 24 Nov '19Published on: 23 Nov '19Published in: Nature communications


When making decisions in groups, the outcome of one's decision often depends on the decisions of others, and there is a tradeoff between short-term incentives for an individual and long-term incentives for the groups. Yet, little is known about the neurocomputational mechanisms at play when weighing different utilities during repeated social interactions. Here, using model-based fMRI and Public-good-games, we find that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex encodes immediate expected rewards as individual utility while the lateral frontopolar cortex encodes group utility (i.e., pending rewards of alternative strategies beneficial for the group). When it is required to change one's strategy, these brain regions exhibited changes in functional interactions with brain regions engaged in switching strategies. Moreover, the anterior cingulate cortex and the temporoparietal junction updated beliefs about the decision of others during interactions. Together, our findings provide a neurocomputational account of how the brain dynamically computes effective strategies to make adaptive collective decisions.