Neurocomputational mechanisms underlying social norms and controllability

Colloquium | November 28 | 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Xiaosi Gu, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

To maintain the normal functioning of a society, individuals must be able to learn to adapt to norms. Neuroimaging studies have suggested that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the insular cortex might be important for norm learning. However, norms are not static processes but rather, can be changed and updated if individuals of a society learn to act on them. In other words, the ability to gain control is also critical in strategic social interactions. Dr. Gu's findings highlight a key role of prospective mental simulation in social exchange and a discrepancy between reality and beliefs about controllability of social environments. These results also expand the idea of model-based decision processes to the social domain.

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