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Brain networks of social comparison

Kedia, Gayannée, Lindner, Michael, Mussweiler, Thomas, Ihssen, Niklas and Linden, David Edmund Johannes 2013. Brain networks of social comparison. NeuroReport 24 (5) , pp. 259-264. 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835f2069

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Social comparison, that is, the process of comparing oneself to other people, is a ubiquitous social cognitive mechanism; however, so far its neural correlates have remained unknown. The present study tested the hypothesis that social comparisons are supported by partly dissociated networks, depending on whether the dimension under comparison concerns a physical or a psychological attribute. We measured brain activity with functional MRI, whereas participants were comparing their own height or intelligence to that of individuals they personally know. Height comparisons were associated with higher activity in a frontoparietal network involved in spatial and numerical cognition. Conversely, intelligence comparisons recruited a network of midline areas that have been previously implicated in the attribution of mental states to oneself and others (Theory of mind). These findings suggest that social comparisons rely on diverse domain-specific mechanisms rather than on one unitary process.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: functional magnetic resonance imaging, height, intelligence, mentalizing, numerical cognition, parietal cortex, social cognition, social comparison, spatial cognition, theory of mind
Publisher: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
ISSN: 0959-4965
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 03:29

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