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Social Distance Evaluation in Human Parietal Cortex

Yamakawa, Yoshinori and Kanai, Ryota and Matsumura, Michikazu and Naito, Eiichi (2009) Social Distance Evaluation in Human Parietal Cortex. PLoS ONE, 4 (2). Art. No. e4360. ISSN 1932-6203. PMCID PMC2635936.

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Across cultures, social relationships are often thought of, described, and acted out in terms of physical space (e.g. “close friends” “high lord”). Does this cognitive mapping of social concepts arise from shared brain resources for processing social and physical relationships? Using fMRI, we found that the tasks of evaluating social compatibility and of evaluating physical distances engage a common brain substrate in the parietal cortex. The present study shows the possibility of an analytic brain mechanism to process and represent complex networks of social relationships. Given parietal cortex's known role in constructing egocentric maps of physical space, our present findings may help to explain the linguistic, psychological and behavioural links between social and physical space.

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Additional Information:© 2009 Yamakawa et al. 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. Received November 19, 2008; Accepted December 24, 2008; Published February 10, 2009. This study was supported by Kyoto University COE Program ‘‘Center of Excellence for Psychological Studies’’ and Kyoto University Global COE Program ‘‘Informatics Center for the Development of Knowledge Society Infrastructure’’, MEXT, Japan and by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C), 19500290, MEXT, Japan. Y.Y. is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Kyoto University Venture Business Laboratory. R.K. is supported by Human Frontier Science Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors are grateful to Dr. Chris Frith, Dr. Geraint Rees, Dr. Roi Cohen Kadosh, Dr. Bahador Bahrami and Dr. Daw-An Wu for their valuable comments on the early version of manuscript. Author Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: YY EN. Performed the experiments: YY EN. Analyzed the data: YY RK EN. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: YY EN. Wrote the paper: YY RK MM EN.
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Kyoto UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)19500290
Human Frontier Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
PubMed Central ID:PMC2635936
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090930-135552504
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Official Citation:Yamakawa Y, Kanai R, Matsumura M, Naito E (2009) Social Distance Evaluation in Human Parietal Cortex. PLoS ONE 4(2): e4360. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004360.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16133
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Oct 2009 20:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 01:07

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