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Neural correlates of cognitive dissonance and choice-induced preference change

Izuma, Keise and Matsumoto, Madoka and Murayama, Kou and Samejima, Kazuyuki and Sadato, Norihiro and Matsumoto, Kenji (2010) Neural correlates of cognitive dissonance and choice-induced preference change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (51). pp. 22014-22019. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC3009797. doi:10.1073/pnas.1011879108.

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According to many modern economic theories, actions simply reflect an individual's preferences, whereas a psychological phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance” claims that actions can also create preference. Cognitive dissonance theory states that after making a difficult choice between two equally preferred items, the act of rejecting a favorite item induces an uncomfortable feeling (cognitive dissonance), which in turn motivates individuals to change their preferences to match their prior decision (i.e., reducing preference for rejected items). Recently, however, Chen and Risen [Chen K, Risen J (2010) J Pers Soc Psychol 99:573–594] pointed out a serious methodological problem, which casts a doubt on the very existence of this choice-induced preference change as studied over the past 50 y. Here, using a proper control condition and two measures of preferences (self-report and brain activity), we found that the mere act of making a choice can change self-report preference as well as its neural representation (i.e., striatum activity), thus providing strong evidence for choice-induced preference change. Furthermore, our data indicate that the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex tracked the degree of cognitive dissonance on a trial-by-trial basis. Our findings provide important insights into the neural basis of how actions can alter an individual's preferences.

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Additional Information:© 2011 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Edward E. Smith, Columbia University, New York, NY, and approved November 16, 2010 (received for review August 10, 2010). Published online before print December 6, 2010. The authors thank Matthew Botvinick for helpful comments on the manuscript and Tomoki Haji and Mike Tyszka for technical support. This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellows (to K.I.), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research C#21530773, Grand-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative areas #22120515 (to K. Matsumoto), and a Tamagawa University Global Center of Excellence grant from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan. Author contributions: K.I., M.M., K. Murayama, K.S., N.S., and K. Matsumoto designed research; K.I., M.M., and K. Matsumoto performed research; M.M. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; K.I. analyzed data; and K.I., K. Murayama, and K. Matsumoto wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. This article contains supporting information online at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)21530773
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS))22120515
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)UNSPECIFIED
Tamagawa UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:attitude; cognitive control; conflict; neuroeconomics; value
Issue or Number:51
PubMed Central ID:PMC3009797
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110228-153201625
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Keise Izuma, Madoka Matsumoto, Kou Murayama, Kazuyuki Samejima, Norihiro Sadato, and Kenji Matsumoto Neural correlates of cognitive dissonance and choice-induced preference change PNAS 2010 107 (51) 22014-22019; published ahead of print December 6, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1011879108
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22559
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Mar 2011 18:51
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:06

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