Contributions of frontopolar cortex to judgments about self, others and relations.
Activation in frontopolar cortex (FPC; BA 10) has been associated both with attending to mental states and with integrating multiple mental relations. However, few previous studies have manipulated both of these cognitive processes, precluding a clear functional distinction among regions within FPC. To address this issue, we developed an fMRI task that combined mentalizing and relational integration processes. Participants saw blocks of single words and performed one of three judgments: how pleasant or unpleasant they found each word (Self condition), how a specific friend would evaluate the pleasantness of the word (Other condition), or the difference between their own pleasantness judgment and that of their friend (Relational condition). We found that medial FPC was modulated by Other relative to Self judgments, consistent with a role in mentalizing. Lateral FPC was significantly activated during Relational compared to Self judgements, suggesting that this region is particularly involved in relational integration. The results point to a strong functional dissociation between medial and lateral FPC. In addition, the data demonstrate a role for lateral FPC in the social domain, provided that the task requires the integration of one's preferences with those of others.
Raposo, A; Vicens, L; Clithero, JA; Dobbins, IG; Huettel, SA
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