Neural Mechanisms of Social Conformity
Conformity is a form of social influence in which individuals align their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with other members of a group. Numerous neuroimaging findings support the hypothesis that human conformity is underlined by the basic (dopamine-related) learning mechanism: conflicts with a group opinion generate a “social” reward prediction error signal. Thus, a difference between an individual behavior and the group behavior is perceived as a behavioral error. The recent neuroimaging studies further support this conclusion and suggest that the ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortexcontinuously update subjective values based on a comparison of our own actions and the behavior of others.