A Caltech Library Service

The Behavioral and Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Tracking of Expertise

Boorman, Erie D. and O'Doherty, John P. and Adolphs, Ralph and Rangel, Antonio (2013) The Behavioral and Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Tracking of Expertise. Neuron, 80 (6). pp. 1558-1571. ISSN 0896-6273. PMCID PMC3878380. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.024.

PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Evaluating the abilities of others is fundamental for successful economic and social behavior. We investigated the computational and neurobiological basis of ability tracking by designing an fMRI task that required participants to use and update estimates of both people and algorithms’ expertise through observation of their predictions. Behaviorally, we find a model-based algorithm characterized subject predictions better than several alternative models. Notably, when the agent’s prediction was concordant rather than discordant with the subject’s own likely prediction, participants credited people more than algorithms for correct predictions and penalized them less for incorrect predictions. Neurally, many components of the mentalizing network—medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate gyrus, temporoparietal junction, and precuneus—represented or updated expertise beliefs about both people and algorithms. Moreover, activity in lateral orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal cortex reflected behavioral differences in learning about people and algorithms. These findings provide basic insights into the neural basis of social learning.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
O'Doherty, John P.0000-0003-0016-3531
Adolphs, Ralph0000-0002-8053-9692
Additional Information:© 2013 The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Accepted: October 4, 2013; Published: December 18, 2013. We thank Tim Behrens and Matthew Rushworth for helpful discussions and comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by the NSF (SES-0851408, SES-0926544, and SES-0850840), NIH (R01 AA018736 and R21 AG038866), the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation, the Lipper Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust (to E.D.B.).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHR01 AA018736
NIHR21 AG038866
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Lipper FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6
PubMed Central ID:PMC3878380
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140103-072655376
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Erie D. Boorman, John P. O’Doherty, Ralph Adolphs, Antonio Rangel, The Behavioral and Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Tracking of Expertise, Neuron, Volume 80, Issue 6, 18 December 2013, Pages 1558-1571, ISSN 0896-6273, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43190
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Jan 2014 17:52
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:34

Repository Staff Only: item control page