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Brain stimulation reveals crucial role of overcoming self-centeredness in self-control


Soutschek, Alexander; Ruff, Christian C; Strombach, Tina; Kalenscher, Tobias; Tobler, Philippe N (2016). Brain stimulation reveals crucial role of overcoming self-centeredness in self-control. Science Advances, 2(10):e1600992.

Abstract

Neurobiological models of self-control predominantly focus on the role of prefrontal brain mechanisms involved in emotion regulation and impulse control. We provide evidence for an entirely different neural mechanism that promotes self-control by overcoming bias for the present self, a mechanism previously thought to be mainly important for interpersonal decision-making. In two separate studies, we show that disruptive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the temporo-parietal junction—a brain region involved in overcoming one’s self-centered perspective—increases the discounting of delayed and prosocial rewards. This effect of TMS on temporal and social discounting is accompanied by deficits in perspective-taking and does not reflect altered spatial reorienting and number recognition. Our findings substantiate a fundamental commonality between the domains of self-control and social decision-making and highlight a novel aspect of the neurocognitive processes involved in self-control.

Abstract

Neurobiological models of self-control predominantly focus on the role of prefrontal brain mechanisms involved in emotion regulation and impulse control. We provide evidence for an entirely different neural mechanism that promotes self-control by overcoming bias for the present self, a mechanism previously thought to be mainly important for interpersonal decision-making. In two separate studies, we show that disruptive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the temporo-parietal junction—a brain region involved in overcoming one’s self-centered perspective—increases the discounting of delayed and prosocial rewards. This effect of TMS on temporal and social discounting is accompanied by deficits in perspective-taking and does not reflect altered spatial reorienting and number recognition. Our findings substantiate a fundamental commonality between the domains of self-control and social decision-making and highlight a novel aspect of the neurocognitive processes involved in self-control.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Temporal discounting, social discounting, altruism, egocentricity bias, present bias, theta-burst stimulation
Language:English
Date:5 October 2016
Deposited On:09 Jan 2017 14:01
Last Modified:11 Mar 2018 06:38
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1600992
Related URLs:http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/10/e1600992 (Publisher)
PubMed ID:27774513

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