Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fairness activates brain reward circuitry.

Some interesting observations from Tabibnia et al. They:
...examined self-reported happiness and neural responses to fair and unfair offers while controlling for monetary payoff. Compared with unfair offers of equal monetary value, fair offers led to higher happiness ratings and activation in several reward regions of the brain. Furthermore, the tendency to accept unfair proposals was associated with increased activity in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a region involved in emotion regulation, and with decreased activity in the anterior insula, which has been implicated in negative affect. This work provides evidence that fairness is hedonically valued and that tolerating unfair treatment for material gain involves a pattern of activation resembling suppression of negative affect.

Figure legend - Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), ventral striatum, and amygdala activation associated with fairness preference. The illustration (a) shows the location of clusters with significantly greater activation in response to fair compared with unfair offers.

Figure legend - Brain activation associated with the tendency to accept unfair offers. The illustrations show the location of areas in (a) left anterior insula and (c) right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (right VLPFC) whose activation predicted this tendency.

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