Fermin et al.(2016)

Fermin, A. S. R., Sakagami, M., Kiyonari, T. (清成透子), Li, Y.(李楊), Matsumoto, Y. (松本良恵), Yamagishi, T. (山岸俊男) (2016).
Representation of economic preferences in the structure and function of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.
Scientific Reports, 6, 20982.
doi: 10.1038/srep20982
Social value orientations (SVOs) are economic preferences for the distribution of resources – prosocial individuals are more cooperative and egalitarian than are proselfs. Despite the social and economic implications of SVOs, no systematic studies have examined their neural correlates. We investigated the amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) structures and functions in prosocials and proselfs by functional magnetic resonance imaging and evaluated cooperative behavior in the Prisoner’s Dilemma game. We found for the first time that amygdala volume was larger in prosocials and positively correlated with cooperation, while DLPFC volume was larger in proselfs and negatively correlated with cooperation. Proselfs’ decisions were marked by strong DLPFC and weak amygdala activity, and prosocials’ decisions were marked by strong amygdala activity, with the DLPFC signal increasing only in defection. Our findings suggest that proselfs’ decisions are controlled by DLPFC-mediated deliberative processes, while prosocials’ decisions are initially guided by automatic amygdala processes.