Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Efficient learning mechanisms hold in the social domain and are implemented in the medial prefrontal cortex


Seid-Fatemi, Azade; Tobler, Philippe N (2015). Efficient learning mechanisms hold in the social domain and are implemented in the medial prefrontal cortex. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(5):735-743.

Abstract

When we are learning to associate novel cues with outcomes, learning is more efficient if we take advantage of previously learned associations and thereby avoid redundant learning. The blocking effect represents this sort of efficiency mechanism and refers to the phenomenon in which a novel stimulus is blocked from learning when it is associated with a fully predicted outcome. Although there is sufficient evidence that this effect manifests itself when individuals learn about their own rewards, it remains unclear whether it also does when they learn about others' rewards. We employed behavioral and neuroimaging methods to address this question. We demonstrate that blocking does indeed occur in the social domain and it does so to a similar degree as observed in the individual domain. On the neural level, activations in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) show a specific contribution to blocking and learning-related prediction errors in the social domain. These findings suggest that the efficiency principle that applies to reward learning in the individual domain also applies to that in the social domain, with the mPFC playing a central role in implementing it.

Abstract

When we are learning to associate novel cues with outcomes, learning is more efficient if we take advantage of previously learned associations and thereby avoid redundant learning. The blocking effect represents this sort of efficiency mechanism and refers to the phenomenon in which a novel stimulus is blocked from learning when it is associated with a fully predicted outcome. Although there is sufficient evidence that this effect manifests itself when individuals learn about their own rewards, it remains unclear whether it also does when they learn about others' rewards. We employed behavioral and neuroimaging methods to address this question. We demonstrate that blocking does indeed occur in the social domain and it does so to a similar degree as observed in the individual domain. On the neural level, activations in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) show a specific contribution to blocking and learning-related prediction errors in the social domain. These findings suggest that the efficiency principle that applies to reward learning in the individual domain also applies to that in the social domain, with the mPFC playing a central role in implementing it.

Statistics

Citations

6 citations in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

14 downloads since deposited on 11 Nov 2014
4 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:11 Nov 2014 14:17
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 23:58
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1749-5016
Additional Information:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsu130
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu130
PubMed ID:25326037

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 471kB
View at publisher

Article Networks

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations