A dual-fMRI investigation of the iterated Ultimatum Game reveals that reciprocal behaviour is associated with neural alignment


Dyadic interactions often involve a dynamic process of mutual reciprocity; to steer a series of exchanges towards a desired outcome, both interactants must adapt their own behaviour according to that of their interaction partner. Understanding the brain processes behind such bidirectional reciprocity is therefore central to social neuroscience, but this requires measurement of both individuals’ brains during realworld exchanges. We achieved this by performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on pairs of male individuals simultaneously while they interacted in a modifed iterated Ultimatum Game (iUG). In this modifcation, both players could express their intent and maximise their own monetary gain by reciprocating their partner’s behaviour – they could promote generosity through cooperation and/or discourage unfair play with retaliation. By developing a novel model of reciprocity adapted from behavioural economics, we then show that each player’s choices can be predicted accurately by estimating expected utility (EU) not only in terms of immediate payof, but also as a reaction to their opponent’s prior behaviour. Finally, for the frst time we reveal that brain signals implicated in social decision making are modulated by these estimates of EU, and become correlated more strongly between interacting players who reciprocate one another.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-29233-9
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. © The Author(s) 2018 Funding: This work was supported fnancially by project GA16-18261S.
Publication ISSN: 2045-2322
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 07:27
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2018 15:09
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Related URLs: https://www.nat ... 598-018-29233-9 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-07-18
Accepted Date: 2018-07-09
Authors: Shaw, Daniel J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-1139-8301)
Czekóová, Kristína
Staněk, Rostislav
Mareček, Radek
Urbánek, Tomáš
Špalek, Jiří
Kopečková, Lenka
Řezáč, Jan
Brázdil, Milan



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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