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Activity in the amygdala elicited by unfair divisions predicts social value orientation


'Social value orientation' characterizes individual differences in anchoring attitudes toward the division of resources. Here, by contrasting people with prosocial and individualistic orientations using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we demonstrate that degree of inequity aversion in prosocials is predictable from amygdala activity and unaffected by cognitive load. This result suggests that automatic emotional processing in the amygdala lies at the core of prosocial value orientation.

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Figure 1: Task design and behavior.
Figure 2: Difference between prosocials and individualists in the correlation of brain activity with the absolute value of reward difference Da.

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We thank S. Tada and Y. Furukawa for technical assistance. This research was supported by the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences (SRPBS) and Tamagawa University Global Center of Excellence grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan. M.H. was supported by the Royal Society of UK, and C.D.F. was supported by the Danish National Research Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Consciousness in a Natural and Cultural Context scheme (AHE511112/1).

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Correspondence to Masahiko Haruno.

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Haruno, M., Frith, C. Activity in the amygdala elicited by unfair divisions predicts social value orientation. Nat Neurosci 13, 160–161 (2010).

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