Social Decision-Making, Game Theory and Neuroscience

The subcomponents of the striatum, involved in the processing of reward: caudate nucleus (CAU), putamen (PUT), and nucleus accumbens (NA).

Social Decision-Making: Insights from Game Theory and Neuroscience
Science, 26 October 2007: 318(5850):598-602
Alan G. Sanfey

By combining the models and tasks of Game Theory with modern psychological and neuroscientific methods, the neuroeconomic approach to the study of social decision-making has the potential to extend our knowledge of brain mechanisms involved in social decisions and to advance theoretical models of how we make decisions in a rich, interactive environment.
Research has already begun to illustrate how social exchange can act directly on the brain’s reward system, how affective factors play an important role in bargaining and competitive games, and how the ability to assess another’s intentions is related to strategic play.
These findings provide a fruitful starting point for improved models of social decision-making, informed by the formal mathematical approach of economics and constrained by known neural mechanisms.

figure used by:
Introduction to Neuroeconomics: how the brain makes decisions
Coursera. July 2014

Out-of-body–induced hippocampal amnesia

body_illusionOut-of-body–induced hippocampal amnesia
PNAS, approved February 7, 2014
Loretxu Bergouignana, et al.

Theoretical models have suggested an association between the s own body and hippocampus-based episodic memory.
This link has been supported by clinical reports of long-term episodic memory impairments in psychiatric conditions with dissociative symptoms, in which individuals feel detached from themselves as if having an out-of-body experience.

Here, we introduce an experimental approach to examine the necessary role of perceiving the s own body for the successful episodic encoding of real-life events.
While participants were involved in a social interaction, an out-of-body illusion was elicited, in which the sense of bodily self was displaced from the real body to the other end of the testing room.
This condition was compared with a well-matched in-body illusion condition, in which the sense of bodily self was colocalized with the real body.
In separate recall ’ episodic memory of these events.

The results revealed an episodic recollection deficit for events encoded out-of-body compared with in-body.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging indicated that this impairment was specifically associated with activity changes in the posterior hippocampus.
Collectively, these findings show that efficient hippocampus-based episodic-memory encoding requires a first-person perspective of the natural spatial relationship between the body and the world.
Our observations have important implications for theoretical models of episodic memory, neurocognitive models of self, embodied cognition, and clinical research into memory deficits in psychiatric disorders.

self-consciousness | body illusion | dissociative experience | autobiographical memory

journalistic version:
Memories Can Go Astray When We Step Outside Our Bodies
March 10, 2014