14 November 2018: The social brain: how we detect norms and influence others

Xiaosi Gu
Departments of Psychiatry & Neuroscience
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

To maintain the normal functioning of a society, individuals must be able to learn to adapt to norms. More importantly, norms are not static construls but instead, can be changed and updated; in other words, individuals have the ability to influence social others. In this talk, I will present our recent work using computational models of decision-making, in conjunction with fMRI and lesion approaches, that investigates how humans learn to adapt to norms and how they influence others. Our findings suggest that different neural regions (e.g. vmPFC, insula) compute dissociable parameters that drive norm learning. Furthermore, humans are able to engage model-based planning to influence others, a process involving both mesolimbic and lateral frontal control regions. Taken together, these findings reveal the non-static nature of human interactions and the proactive feature of social exchange behaviors.