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The neural bases of framing effects in social dilemmas

Julian Macoveanu (), Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy (), Martin Skov (), Hartwig R. Siebner () and Toke Reinholt Fosgaard Fosgaard ()
Additional contact information
Julian Macoveanu: Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre
Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy: Center for Decision Neuroscience, Dept. of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School
Martin Skov: Center for Decision Neuroscience, Dept. of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School
Hartwig R. Siebner: Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre
Toke Reinholt Fosgaard Fosgaard: Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

No 2015/12, IFRO Working Paper from University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics

Abstract: Human behavior in social dilemmas is strongly framed by the social context, but the mechanisms underlying this framing effect remains poorly understood. To identify the behavioral and neural responses mediating framing of social interactions, subjects underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging while playing a Prisoners Dilemma game. In separate neuroimaging sessions, the game was either framed as a cooperation game or a competition game. Social decisions where subjects were affected by the frame engaged the hippocampal formation, precuneus, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and lateral temporal gyrus. Among these regions, the engagement of the left hippocampus was further modulated by individual differences in empathy. Social decisions not adhering to the frame were associated with stronger engagement of the angular gyrus and trend increases in lateral orbitofrontal cortex, posterior intraparietal cortex, and temporopolar cortex. Our findings provide the first insight into the mechanisms underlying framing of behavior in social dilemmas, indicating increased engagement of the hippocampus and neocortical areas involved in memory, social reasoning and mentalizing when subjects make decisions that conform to the imposed social frame.

Keywords: Social reasoning; prisoners dilemma; fMRI; framing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2015-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp and nep-neu
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