The brain's temporal dynamics from a collective decision to individual action.

Research paper by Caroline J CJ Charpentier, Christina C Moutsiana, Neil N Garrett, Tali T Sharot

Indexed on: 25 Apr '14Published on: 25 Apr '14Published in: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience


Social animals constantly make decisions together. What determines if individuals will subsequently adjust their behavior to align with collective choices? Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans, we characterize a novel temporal model of brain response from the time a collective decision is made to the time an individual action is required. We reveal that whether a behavioral modification will occur is determined not necessarily by the brain's response to the initial social influence, but by how that response (specifically in the orbitofrontal cortex; OFC) is mirrored at a later time when the individual selects their own action. This result suggests that the OFC may reconstitute an initial state of collective influence when individual action is subsequently needed. Importantly, these dynamics vary across individuals as a function of trait conformity and mediate the relationship between this personality characteristic and behavioral adjustment toward the group.