A comparative fMRI meta-analysis of altruistic and strategic decisions to give

Communities: developmental

Contributed by Jo.Cutler

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AuthorsJo Cutler and Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn
DescriptionData for paper appearing in NeuroImage, published online September 2018 (abstract below). This collection contains thresholded maps, unthresholded maps and jackknife maps. The text files with details of the peaks and subpeaks can be downloaded from https://doi.org/10.25377/sussex.6756872. The components of the file names mean: "Adjusted": maps are from the novel method developed in the paper to account for variable dropout across the studies which provided data. Files without this prefix are from the standard mean analyses in AES:SDM (see paper for details). "unthresh": unthresholded. "thresh": thresholded. "mean_altruistic" or "mean_strategic": the meta-analytic average of a group of prosocial decisions (altruistic or strategic). "overlap": the conjunction between altruistic and strategic prosocial decisions. "comparison": the contrast between altruistic and strategic prosocial decisions (prosocial = altruistic and strategic). "(X vs. Y)": the contrast in the map. "covariate": calculated using the covariate coding control complexity (see paper for details). "subgroup": calculated only using the subgroup of studies for which a selfish control was available (see paper for details). Publication abstract: The decision to share resources is fundamental for cohesive societies. Humans can be motivated to give for many reasons. Some generosity incurs a definite cost, with no extrinsic reward to the act, but instead provides intrinsic satisfaction (labelled here as ‘altruistic’ giving). Other giving behaviours are done with the prospect of improving one's own situation via reciprocity, reputation, or public good (labelled here as ‘strategic’ giving). These contexts differ in the source, certainty, and timing of rewards as well as the inferences made about others' mental states. We executed a combined statistical map and coordinate-based fMRI meta-analysis of decisions to give (36 studies, 1150 participants). Methods included a novel approach for accommodating variable signal dropout between studies in meta-analysis. Results reveal consistent, cross-paradigm neural correlates of each decision type, commonalities, and informative differences. Relative to being selfish, altruistic and strategic giving activate overlapping reward networks. However, strategic decisions showed greater activity in striatal regions than altruistic choices. Altruistic giving, more than strategic, activated subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC). Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is consistently involved during generous decisions and processing across a posterior to anterior axis differentiates the altruistic/strategic context. Posterior vmPFC was preferentially recruited during altruistic decisions. Regions of the ‘social brain’ showed distinct patterns of activity between choice types, reflecting the different use of theory of mind in the two contexts. We provide the consistent neural correlates of decisions to give, and show that many will depend on the source of incentives.
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Add DateJuly 3, 2018, 5:11 p.m.