The Role of the Temporoparietal and Prefrontal Cortices in a Third-Party Punishment: A tDCS Study
Recent studies have demonstrated that the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
(rDLPFC) and the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) are causally involved in social
norm compliance. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a third party's decision to punish
norm violations depends on the activity of the entire rDLPFC/rTPJ network. We used
transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to independently or jointly modulate rTPJ
and rDLPFC activity during the third-party dictator game. We found a significant effect
of anodal tDCS of the rTPJ, which decreased the third-party punishment of moderately
unfair splits. Joint stimulation of the rTPJ (by anodal tDCS) and rDLPFC (by cathodal
tDCS) produced a marginal effect on third-party punishment.
Human societies crucially depend on social norms that specify appropriate actions in various situation. The effect of norms on collective behavior can break down if norm violations are not sanctioned. Social punishment is a form of behavior to enforce social norm compliance that relies on two key brain region: the “mentalizing network” (right temporo-parietal junction – rTPJ) evaluating individual responsibility and the “central-executive network” (right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – rDLPFC) determining the final decision to punish norm violators. Here we further investigate the role of the brain network – rDLPFC-rTPJ – in third-party punishment. We used transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) to disrupt the rDLPFC-rTPJ network of healthy subjects while they performed the Dictator Game. Our results suggests that the frequency of third-party punishment increased after the tDCS of the rDLPFC-rTPJ. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the effect of simultaneous tDCS of the rDLPFC and rTPJ on the third-party punishment. We also show that personality traits modulate the effect of tDCS on the third-party punishment.
The theory of cognitive dissonance suggests that individuals prefer new incoming information to be consistent with already existing knowledge. Conflicting or inconsistent information results in an emotionally uncomfortable state called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that a choice between two similarly valued alternatives creates psychological tension (cognitive dissonance) that is reduced by a post-decision re-evaluation of the alternatives. According to the action-based model of cognitive dissonance, activity in the posterior medial prefrontal cortex (pMFC) underlies the detection of cognitive conflicts and the reduction of the dissonance. Nevertheless, the neurocomputational foundation of cognitive dissonance remains unclear. In this study, for the first time we show that cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the pMFC significantly reduced post-decision re-evaluation of the alternatives. An ongoing follow-up study that applied anodal tDCS to the pMFC preliminarily showed a tendency to increase choice-induced preference changes. Our results suggest that cognitive dissonance, underlined by the activity of the prefrontal cortex, is a part of the performance-monitoring circuitry
Previous transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) studies showed functional connections between the parietal cortex (PC) and the primary motor cortex (M1) during tasks of different reaching-to-grasp movements. Here, we tested whether the same network is involved in cognitive processes such as imagined or observed actions. Single pulse TMS of the right and left M1 during rest and during a motor imagery and an action observation task (i.e., an index-thumb pinch grip in both cases) was used to measure corticospinal excitability changes before and after conditioning of the right PC by 10 min of cathodal, anodal, or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Corticospinal excitability was indexed by the size of motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) from the contralateral first dorsal interosseous (FDI; target) and abductor digiti minimi muscle (control) muscles. Results showed selective ipsilateral effects on the M1 excitability, exclusively for motor imagery processes: anodal tDCS enhanced the MEPs' size from the FDI muscle, whereas cathodal tDCS decreased it. Only cathodal tDCS impacted corticospinal facilitation induced by action observation. Sham stimulation was always uneffective. These results suggest that motor imagery, differently from action observation, is sustained by a strictly ipsilateral parieto-motor cortex circuits. Results might have implication for neuromodulatory rehabilitative purposes.
While polarity-specific after-effects of monopolar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on corticospinal excitability are well-documented, modulation of vital parameters due to current spread through the brainstem is still a matter of debate, raising potential concerns about its use through the general public, as well as for neurorehabilitation purposes. We monitored online and after-effects of monopolar tDCS (primary motor cortex) in 10 healthy subjects by adopting a neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)/tDCS combined protocol. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) together with vital parameters [e.g., blood pressure, heart-rate variability (HRV), and sympathovagal balance] were recorded and monitored before, during, and after anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS. Ten MEPs, every 2.5-min time windows, were recorded from the right first dorsal interosseous (FDI), while 5-min epochs were used to record vital parameters. The protocol included 15 min of pre-tDCS and of online tDCS (anodal, cathodal, or sham). After-effects were recorded for 30 min. We showed a polarity-independent stabilization of cortical excitability level, a polarity-specific after-effect for cathodal and anodal stimulation, and an absence of persistent excitability changes during online stimulation. No significant effects on vital parameters emerged both during and after tDCS, while a linear increase in systolic/diastolic blood pressure and HRV was observed during each tDCS condition, as a possible unspecific response to experimental demands. Taken together, current findings provide new insights on the safety of monopolar tDCS, promoting its application both in research and clinical settings.
This article describes the expierence of studying factors influencing the social well-being of educational migrants as mesured by means of a psychological well-being scale (A. Perrudet-Badoux, G.A. Mendelsohn, J.Chiche, 1988) previously adapted for Russian by M.V. Sokolova. A statistical analysis of the scale's reliability is performed. Trends in dynamics of subjective well-being are indentified on the basis the correlations analysis between the condbtbions of adaptation and its success rate, and potential mechanisms for developing subjective well-being among student migrants living in student hostels are described. Particular attention is paid to commuting as a factor of adaptation.
The distractive effects on attentional task performance in different paradigms are analyzed in this paper. I demonstrate how distractors may negatively affect (interference effect), positively (redundancy effect) or neutrally (null effect). Distractor effects described in literature are classified in accordance with their hypothetical source. The general rule of the theory is also introduced. It contains the formal prediction of the particular distractor effect, based on entropy and redundancy measures from the mathematical theory of communication (Shannon, 1948). Single- vs dual-process frameworks are considered for hypothetical mechanisms which underpin the distractor effects. Distractor profiles (DPs) are also introduced for the formalization and simple visualization of experimental data concerning the distractor effects. Typical shapes of DPs and their interpretations are discussed with examples from three frequently cited experiments. Finally, the paper introduces hierarchical hypothesis that states the level-fashion modulating interrelations between distractor effects of different classes.